NICHOLAS WATTS gives us a view of the local agriculture scene in WORD ON THE GROUND
January was drier than average here at Deeping St Nicholas, only 39 mm or 1.5 inches of rain.
February has continued to be drier than average so far, Temperatures have also been about average or a bit colder than average, but there is a saying, as the days get longer the cold gets stronger, only time will tell whether that is so this year or not.
We have been busy loading potatoes out to pre-packers who supply and no doubt other farmers have as well but nobody would notice as they all go away in curtain- sided vehicles.
Prices this year are very low, there is certainly no profit in potatoes this year for those people who do not have them on contract as the free buy price is about £100 cheaper than those on contract.
To keep the potatoes in good condition for the supermarkets we store them at 3 degrees Centigrade - but to keep them in good condition for the chip factories, we keep them at 8 deg C. If we keep them at 7 deg C or less, it alters the sugars in the potato and they are fried they will turn a brown colour and the whole load will get rejected.
Our potato stores of course are all rigged up to store the potatoes hopefully at the correct temperatures so that we can satisfy our buyers.
Failure for that to happen would soon see us making a loss on the crop and losing money.