BRITAIN’S potato harvest was the lowest since 2012, according to newly published figures, which also revealed that Scottish yields held firm against that slump.
Despite the ‘challenging’ growing season, potatoes grown north of the border enjoyed a 3% increase in yield against last year to 49.2 tonnes per hectare, while the total British potato harvest was 13% down on the five year average of 5.6m tonnes at 4.9m tonnes, according to the annual Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board estimates.
That low overall production figure was the result of an estimated 4.4% drop in planted area across GB, and a 12% drop in average yield, as the crop was heavily impacted by a combination of late planting and the prolonged hot and dry weather that stalled tuber growth in June and July.
Despite the better yield performance, the total production of potatoes in Scotland was still down, due to a decrease of 1.6Kha in planted area.
The lack of a definitive position on potato and potato seed importation, post-EU exit on 29 March 2019 only adds to the challenges faced by the potato sector across the UK.