The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) is calling for immediate compensation from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) for farmers with flooded potato fields.

Following a survey of IFA members, around 650 acres of crop planted out last year remains in the ground which represents 3.6% of national planted area.

Potato Committee chair, Sean Ryan, said: “Frost in January would have destroyed a large proportion of the crops.

“What’s more, potato growers will want to get spring cereal crops established on this land as a matter of priority.

“So the Department of Agriculture must act quickly in making available compensation measures to those potato growers now facing major losses through no fault of their own.”

IFA president, Francie Gorman said that a precedent for compensation was established by the government last autumn when the decision was taken to support cereal growers who were affected by bad weather last harvest.

The DAFM so far has refused to set up a potato compensation scheme, citing the current strength of potato prices and the fact that growers can still technically harvest potato crops planted last year.

However, the IFA has formally requested a meeting with DAFM officials to discuss the issue of a potato compensation scheme. “At the end of the day, we will be looking for a political decision to be taken, one which reflects the plight of those growers, who have been affected so badly,” Francie Gorman concluded.

Turning to 2024 , the wet weather has significantly impacted early planting with even coastal areas, typically first to plant, showing little to no activity in getting the early varieties into the ground.

Potato stocks in Ireland are becoming increasingly tight, leading to a noticeable upward pressure on prices.

The situation in Ireland mirrors a broader trend seen across Europe, where potato stocks are tightening, and prices are on the rise. In countries such as Germany, Belgium, Holland and France, the physical prices for processing potatoes have seen an uptick. France, in particular, is experiencing stable prices, albeit at elevated levels compared to historical averages.