by Malcom Barker
Too much rain was a problem early in 2021. I hardly dare say it, but now we need it! My potatoes died with drought during August, something I have never seen before. I can only assume they didn’t put down deep roots in the waterlogged field during the spring. The gaps between rows looked like parallel canals, so the potato plants kept their roots high in the rows. In the baking heat of early August their roots were unable to get deep enough to find moisture and the plants gave up and wilted away.
If I get a 25 kg sack of potatoes from every 5 metres of the row then I consider it to be a good crop; digging 7 metres of the row to fill a sack is an average crop. This year I have to dig 14 metres to fill each sack!
However, this dry weather means that winter crops can be sown, but I have to use a subsoiler to put deep grooves into the land at one metre intervals to open up the soil so that the plough can penetrate the sun baked fields.