Could Christmas be ruined? Farmers warn of possible sprout shortages
Fears that Irish people would have to eat their Christmas dinner without home-grown Brussels sprouts this year have been confirmed by growers around the country.
Vegetable grower Paudie Hanafin from Ballygarron Farm said that his crop of Brussels sprouts is back by 60pc compared to the same time last year.
The crop of sprouts currently stands a foot shorter compared to the same time last year and the lower height of the crop will reduce yields at harvest time, according to growers.
And while demand for Brussels sprouts surges as Christmas looms, there are increasing worries already that the demand won't be met by Irish produce.
This year’s crop has endured an unusually dry summer, which saw parts of the country go without rain for the majority of the summer and with this came more problems.
Diamondback moth is a pest that feeds off all brassica plant and has done a lot of damage of to Paudie’s crop of sprouts this year.
“It’s really taking a toll on this year’s crop,” said Paudie who runs Ballygarron Farm vegetable business with his wife Mary in The Spa, Tralee, Co. Kerry.
Paudie and his family have grown Brussels sprouts for the past three years and planted 30 acres of the crop to be harvested for this coming Christmas.