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Drought threatening potato crop

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This year's crop of Jersey Royal potatoes is threatened by drought

This year's crop of Jersey Royal potatoes is threatened by drought

This year's crop of Jersey Royal potatoes is threatened by drought

A drought is threatening to significantly cut the much-anticipated Jersey Royal potato crop, growers have warned.

The worst drought on the Channel island in 34 years could cut the first yield by 50%, with forecasters not predicting rain for another two weeks, the Jersey Royal Company told The Grocer magazine.

Jersey has not had significant rainfall since April 3. Just 2mm fell last weekend when much of the UK received downpours.

The Jersey Royal Company technical director Mike Renourd told the trade magazine: "It's looking like the first half of the crop will have a significant yield reduction."

He said the situation was so serious that representatives of all the major supermarkets had visited in the past few days to assess the impact on supply.

This year's crop of Jersey Royals, traditionally one of the first signs of spring, is two weeks late because of the prolonged winter and a recent sharp frost which killed some early plants.

Mr Renourd said: "Traditionally, coming up in the next couple of weeks you'd have the big volume coming on line where all the retailers would look to do the big promotions this week, next week and the week after, but clearly that volume is down."

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He said the crop planted later appeared to be growing normally.

In 2008 Jersey Royals were left rotting in fields after a deluge hit the island.

Sales of all Jersey potatoes, not specifically Jersey Royals, were worth £45.7 million in the year to April, up 20.2% on the year before, according to retail analyst Kantar. Volumes were up 32.5% to 37.9 million tonnes.


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