GOOD SEASON: Organic farmer Rob Bauer is harvesting 50 acres of potatoes and says while yeilds are lower this year, the quality of crop is better.
GOOD SEASON: Organic farmer Rob Bauer is harvesting 50 acres of potatoes and says while yeilds are lower this year, the quality of crop is better.

Spud season no dud despite dry winter, high winds

IT’S SPUDS galore in the Valley at the moment, as potato growers madly harvest their crops.

Despite tough conditions, growers are pleased with season although yields are down.

Mt Sylvia organic farmer Rob Bauer grew 50 acres of spuds during the winter, and was pleased with the harvest.

“The quality has been good and the yields have been reasonable but not quite as good as we would have hoped — but considering everything our yields have been pretty good,” Mr Bauer said.

Lockyer Produce director Glen Toohill also planted 50 acres of potatoes on his farm in Grantham and said the dry condition had affected the crop.

“We always look for about 15 tonne an acre, but now we're down to 10 tonne — that's how much it affected it,” Mr Toohill said.

It’s been one of the driest winters on record for the Grantham farmer, and its meant he’s had to contend with unusual growing conditions.

“You got to look out for the frosts, it wasn’t too bad frost wise, but the heat and the wind was what got us this year — it was totally different,” he said.

Mr Toohill also buys spuds from growers, and said while the yields are down, quality has improved — and the dry weather was once again the culprit.

“I had a grower the other day, his yield size is down but his quality was better than other years,” he said.

“I’d say (it’s because) he could get on and spray whenever he wanted — when it’s wet you can’t get on to spray.” 

While some would expect the drought and lower yields to push prices up, Rob Bauer said there had been little change.

“The prices have been fair … about the same (as other years),” Mr Bauer said. 

“When you get a drought it doesn’t generally give you high prices because other areas compensate.”

While both growers were pleased with the season, the futures worries them.

Without rain, it’ll be another tough winter in the Valley for all producers.