Spud Special: Planting progress good

Potato planting has gone well in all areas of Scotland, UK and the main potato growing areas of Europe. This latter point is not being missed by many growers who have a sizable tonnage in store.

In some areas later ploughed fields have proven difficult to cultivate and in some cases growers have pulled out as they have not been able to form effective ridges.

In other instances the soil has been wet at depth and the prolonged dry weather has helped greatly in allowing these to dry out.

However, as I write this the gentle rain that is falling is helping to put some moisture into the planted ridges and thoughts are now turning to herbicide application and how to make sure this is as efficient as possible.

While many growers are still looking at using a single herbicide application the reality is that without significant rainfall to moisten the ridge and bring on the weed growth to allow an effective target area to be achieved, this could turn into a two stage programme.

Exports have been good this year, although while this is slowing down most growers with a balance in store are relatively relaxed that these will find a home.

However, the price for these latter movements may become an issue, which will be further highlighted by the earliness of some import programmes in comparison to the situation last year as well as the additional tonnages that these are bringing to the market.

One consequence of the prolonged dry weather combined with the lack of seed movement earlier in the winter is that seed deliveries have proven difficult from some areas in Scotland to other areas.

While many ware growers are unable to take their seed early, there are many seed growers who are able to take their seed earlier, some growers are expressing concern that this operation could be managed more efficiently, with earlier movements enabling larger tonnages to be dressed at the one time.    

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