Farmer Focus Arable: Martin Lawrenson bids adios to potato stocks

Work seems to be revolving around potatoes. We are trying to sell the remainder of last year’s crop as well as trying to plant this year’s. But neither task seems easy.

Selling potatoes in the current market is hard work as demand is the lowest we have ever known. We did manage to move the last 100t of our Melody at the end of March. Surprisingly, it was going to Spain where I was informed they have had some bad weather this winter, which has affected their crop.

There were some difficulties though when the Spanish lorries arrived with drivers who didn’t speak a word of English. I saw this as an opportunity to test my Spanish that I learnt at night school several years ago. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember much, so I couldn’t instruct them to go to weigh at the local weighbridge or how to get back to the motorway. I could remember how to order two large beers and three ice creams, which didn’t really help much at the time.

Potato planting was held up by a wet cold spell at the end of March and over Easter. I can’t remember the last time that we didn’t work through the Easter holiday weekend. A trip into town with the family on Easter Monday to look around some DIY and furniture shops was enough to ensure that it won’t happen again.

Hopefully, with a more settled weather forecast we can crack on with planting and, with seed going in to warmer soils, they shouldn’t be too far behind those planted earlier in to cold ground.

We’ll only know whether it was wise to be planting at all when we come to harvest.

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