Potato growers turn to irrigation to protect crops
Potato growers right across the country are being forced to irrigate crops in an effort to protect yields.
Farmers report that the continuing drought is putting serious pressure on potato crops, and that rain will be needed over the next fortnight to prevent significant yield losses.
"Unless potatoes are irrigated, they will be under serious pressure," claimed Michael Hennessy of Teagasc.
"Potato growers are effectively irrigating crops to try and protect yields," he said.
Many growers from Louth to Cork have been irrigating both early varieties and main crop potatoes over the last 10 days.
The late plantings this year due to the atrocious spring weather conditions has left the spud crop more susceptible to drought, explained East Cork tillage farmer Denis O'Connor.
Mr O'Connor, who farms between Midleton and Carrigtwohill, has been irrigating crops close to streams and water courses since last week.
He said that the late planting this year meant that some crops weren't sown until mid-May and received very little rain since.