'You can't keep going to the well'
Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30
Nearly 150 tonnes of Golden Wonders are "melting" into the ground at Willie Lenane's farm at Clashmore in Co Waterford.
Willie (63) told how the heavy floods over the winter have caused major damage at the 110ac farm that has been producing potatoes, mainly for local markets, for over 60 years.
"We normally harvest the Golden Wonders in March and sell them later. I had a look at them last November when they were very green and then the rains came," he says.
"We have had heavy rain here before as well as heavy frosts but we always managed to harvest the potatoes in the spring. But not this year," adds Willie, a widower farming on his own.
"I thought we might get through the winter despite the rain but it never stopped and now the potato crop is destroyed. The potatoes are just black and mushy and are just melting into the ground."
Some 15 acres of the farm are under potatoes - five acres for early varieties and 10 acres for the spring harvest. The early potatoes escaped the damage but the losses from the late potatoes were high when they began harvesting.
The financial cost of the weather this winter at the Clashmore farm is high - €2,000 an acre in planting and cultivation costs and €6,000 in sales losses which works out at an estimated €80,000.
"And what makes it worse is there has been a good nice pick up this year in the prices being paid at the markets I sell in," he says.