Rare Drought In Ireland

Published online: Aug 15, 2006
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A rare drought in Ireland has seen early potato yields fall 20 percent and growers said they expected the main crop would also be badly affected, Irish Farmers' Association horticulture committee chairman Ciaran Leddy tells reporters that while farm prices for early varieties are well up on last year, returns to farmers have been hit by the lower yields.

Prices for British Queens have risen between 100 and 150 euros (US$129 to US$192) a tonne on last year to 600 euro (US$768) but average yields are down eight or nine tonnes an acre from 11 or 12 tonnes last year.

Leddy said main-crop yields would also be well below average. "Planting was delayed by the bad weather in April and a lot of the crop didn't go in until May and it has seen little or no rain since," he said.

Government figures show only 16 inches of rain has fallen in the south of the country, leaving levels down two feet from the 20-year acreage of 40 inches a year.