Lifting across the UK has continued this week although it remains behind normal levels. Growers continue to wait for tubers to gain bulk and for skins to set, following the drought and subsequent rains. For many, secondary growth is a concern, particularly for non-irrigated crops. That said there have been reports this week of secondary growth issues on irrigated land. Old crop availability continues to stretch, albeit with some usual deterioration.
In the East, irrigation was still ongoing for some. Lifting is reportedly delayed by at least two weeks. Crops on irrigated land continue to look well considering the challenges they have faced this summer. Growers were estimating yield declines anywhere between 10-20% on irrigated land.
In the West, lifting of main crop is underway and gathering pace. Yields are proving to be variable, depending on soil type. Parts of the region further north with peaty soils and without irrigation are holding moisture well. Some later planted crops have reportedly fared well, as the main stage of growth occurred when conditions cooled and became more favourable.
In the South, lifting has progressed with earlies and early maincrop nearing completion. As with other regions, there is significant variation in anticipated yields of irrigated and unirrigated crops. Abnormality in tuber size and secondary growth are also not uncommon, with Eurostar reportedly suffering badly from misshapen tubers.
In Scotland, variability of the crop is beginning to be seen in early lifting and trial digs. While the overall yield is probably faring better than the rest of the UK, it will likely be below average, although there are always exceptions. With cereal crops still being harvested and thoughts turning to winter crops, there is no rush to lift. The main issue is expected to be scab and the quality of skin finish. Although black leg – which was an issue last year, seems to be less prevalent given the reduced humidity this year.