- Potatoes are mainly grown for human consumption.
- Potatoes are now part of the British staple diet.
- The market price of potatoes fluctuates according to supply and demand.
- Potatoes are put in storage to meet the demand for year round potatoes.
- They are susceptible to frost and must be stored in insulated buildings to keep them in good condition.
- Potatoes are a root crop.
- Growers need to irrigate their potato crops since this plant is very susceptible to drought.
- This crop must be rotated and only grown in a field once in every seven years due to a soil borne pest called potato cyst nematode.
- Blight is another disease which can ruin the potato crop and growers use fungicides to protect their crop from blight.
- This disease caused the Irish Potato famine of 1845 to 1850.
- Potatoes are a versatile food which can be cooked in a variety of ways.
- They can be roasted, boiled, baked, mashed or fried.
- Potatoes can also be processed into crisps, frozen chips or roasties, instant mash or canned new potatoes.
The Potato Crop
The potato crop is produced in four batches;
- First earlies.
- Second earlies.
- Early maincrop.
- Late maincrop.
- Earlies are more commonly known as new potatoes.
- Some earlies are imported from warmer climates.
- Earlies are planted in February/March and harvested between late May and August.
- Maincrop potatoes are planted in April and harvesting continues throughout September and October.
- Types of maincrop potatoes are Maris Piper, Desiree, King Edward and Pentland Dell.
- Most maincrop potatoes are stored inorder to meet the demand for potatoes all year round.