Weather plays havoc with potato planting
Heavy losses predicted on back of 'disastrous' winter and spring
Just one third of the potato crop is in the ground in many parts of Cork, as the continuing poor weather plays havoc with plantings.
Southern growers report that many early potato varieties are only now being sown, with plantings of the main crop a month behind schedule.
Vegetable growers have also been badly affected, with heavy losses predicted in the sector following a disastrous winter and spring.
John Griffin from Carrigaline outside Cork city said that just 25-30pc of the potato crop in his area has been sown.
He has 55ac planted but has a further 145ac to do over the next 10 days. However, he said many tillage farmers concentrated on getting spring cereal crops into the ground over the last fortnight and haven't started into spuds yet.
Mr Griffin said progress had been severely disrupted by the poor weather, with 20mm of rain on Thursday night and Friday setting back planting for much of the weekend.
He said the cold snaps in March and heavy rain during most of the spring is certain to have an impact on the overall acreage sown.
"We have some ground that we now won't plant at all; we'll put it in maize instead, in case November comes bad," Mr Griffin explained.