13 September 2001
Great conditions over summer

THERE has been very different weather in the West of England, compared to East Anglia.

“The East has had a heck of a lot of rain. Here, with had dry weather all summer and good harvesting conditions,” says Richard Maddocks, who farms with his father near Newport in Shropshire.

“If anything its been slightly too wet, but a little scud last night will help the job. We have been harvesting every day.”

The dry weather has helped the quality of the crops. “Water management has been easier. Our driest field has had 12 passes with the irrigator at 20mm a time.”

They started lifting with earlies in June and have been going since.

“We did some Marfona in July for bakers, but there was not much demand because the Hereford farmers had a lot stored, which flooded the market. Weve still got some in the ground which are starting to deteriorate.”

“Weve had an exceptional run on Nadine.” The quality has been OK and they are starting another contract for Sainsburys next week.

They have started to lift Estima for packing, which are going into store.

He says yields are down by about 1t/ha (0.4t/acre) from average. “Ive heard some people are down by 5-6t/ha.”

He has been worried about the movement of potatoes recently.

“There is no reason why the price should have fallen recently, but I think a lot of farmers have needed to shift them to get some cash.”

They have lifted 120ha (300 acres) out of 174ha (430 acres), and expects to have finished by early October.


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