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Potato Working Group Chairman's Blog - 16 August

With the main tattie harvest looming, Scotland may have fared better than other parts of the UK and Europe with the extreme weather throughout 2018 writes Pete Grewar, chair of NFU Scotland’s Potatoes Working Group.

Potatoes were planted on average two weeks late in Scotland due to a late spring and the Beast from the East.  However, in other parts of Europe, planting was anything between four and eight weeks behind.

How things changed.  The 2018 summer has given us low rainfall and high temperatures the like of which has not been seen for 40 years.  In general, low rainfall and slightly higher temperatures in Scotland are good things, and although the overall yield will be reduced, the quality of the Scottish potato crop in 2018 will be exceptionally good.  

This will allow the whole supply chain to have better utilisation of the crop, providing a better return to growers, and sufficient supplies to the consumers.

Scottish potato growers are modern, efficient and resilient and where investment in irrigation has been made, the impact of this season’s weather will be minimal.

The drought broke in late July and between then and mid-August some areas in Scotland have seen 60mm plus of rainfall which has reduced irrigation pressure massively and helped to bulk crops.

We just need the rain to remember to stop when harvest time comes.

And when those potatoes reach consumers in all their forms – fresh, chipped, crisped, frozen or mashed - they present extremely good value and a nutritious product that consumers love and trust.

Health experts love them too.  In the UK, potatoes contribute 12% of the total fibre, 14% of the vitamin C and 13% of the vitamin B6 intake in adults.  So, tuck in!

Author: Bob Carruth

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