Weather delays spud lift

Potato lifting is proceeding well in many areas, but ware producers in eastern Scotland have seen progress hampered by dry soils.

Up to 23 Sept, 40% of the national crop had been harvested, which is about the same as last year, despite delayed planting and slow bulking up this season, says the BPC’s Denis Alder.

“Quality generally seems to be OK, although yields are a little down on last year.”

Most crops lifted so far have gone straight to market, as conditions are slightly too warm to go into store straight away, he says.

There are a few reports of common scab and some growers – particularly in the west – have delayed lifting as they wait for crops to bulk up after dry weather earlier this summer.

But dry soil and high tuber dry matter has increased the risk of bruising and hampered progress in parts of eastern Scotland, says Thistle Agronomy’s Douglas Bain.

“This year is more akin to 2003 when many growers paid the price for lifting when it was very dry. Many learnt their lesson and are reluctant to lift while soil is dry.”