Potato sowings drop
Potato growers have cut production by as much as 27pc in the past two years in an effort to curb losses on the crop.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the acreage of land sown to potatoes fell by 15pc last year, while growers are believed to have slashed the acreage by a further 10-12pc in 2012.
Growers lost €1,300-1,500/ac on potatoes last year, not including the costs of bagging, washing and storage, according to preliminary figures from the IFA.
However, the reduction in the potato crop has resulted in an increase in potato prices this year. A scarcity of potatoes in Ireland, Britain and across Europe has prompted a significant recovery in prices.
IFA potato and fresh product development officer Matt Molloy said prices for new season potatoes this year were currently €900-1,000/t, compared to €250-300/t at the same time last year.
Some 12,200ha of potatoes were sown in Ireland in 2010 but this fell by 1,800ha last year to 10,400ha.
Meanwhile, the unseasonably bad weather in May and June has taken its toll on the yield potential of main crop potatoes, according to Mr Molloy.
"The rain has damaged the root system of crops and washed away nutrients in the soil but it will be another month before we can quantify the damage done," he said.