by FWi staff
RECENT mild weather and lack of rain have maintained soil conditions and allowed good progress to be made by growers planting potatoes.
Mid-week estimates of plantings so far this season reached 2,883 hectares, according to the British Potato Council. This time last year, the potato area totalled only 433 hectares.
Early potato plantings in Cornwall and Jersey are virtually complete, reports BPC information manager, Rob Burrow.
In Jersey, export area plantings were being wrapped up this weekend – the earliest completion since 1992. First crops on the slopes have had their covers removed and most January plantings have emerged.
In Cornwall, plantings of most first earlies has also been completed and growers have moved ahead with early crispers. Mid-week estimates put first earlies plantings at 740 hectares. The area of crispers totals 530 hectares.
Plantings in Kent, have reached 350 hectares but early set-skin maincrop growers have planted only 10 hectares so far.
Growers elsewhere have now planted 550 ha in Pembrokeshire; 180 ha in Devon; 100 ha in Suffolk; 77 ha in Cheshire; 72 in Shropshire; and 46 ha in SW Scotland. “Token attempts” at plantings in other parts of the country amount to a further 140 hectares.