- 29 August 2012
In a bid to avoid spiralling losses potato growers have reduced production by around 27% over the past two years. Figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that the acreage of land under potato cultivation fell 15% last year and it is believed to have been reduced by a further 10-12% this year. Some 12,200ha of potatoes were sown in Ireland in 2010 but this fell by 1,800ha last year to 10,400ha.
Growers lost €1,300-1,500 per acre on potatoes last year, not including the costs of bagging, washing and storage. However, the reduction in cultivation has lead to an increase in potato prices.
IFA potato and fresh product development officer Matt Molloy said prices for new season potatoes this year were currently €900-1,000 per ton, compared to €250-300 per ton at the same time last year.
Meanwhile, the unseasonably bad weather in May and June has taken its toll on the yield potential of main crop potatoes, according to Mr Molloy.
"The rain has damaged the root system of crops and washed away nutrients in the soil but it will be another month before we can quantify the damage done," he said.