Weeks of rainfall latest threat to Southeast Estonia potato harvest

Potatoe harvesting.
Potatoe harvesting. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

The tale of poor harvests this year continues with potatoes where, in some areas of South Estonia, having weather the cold spring and the drought of early summer, the issue now is the reverse – more recent heavy rainfall leading to waterlogged fields, which in many cases has meant potatoes have started rotting in the ground, before they have even been harvested.

Mart Timmi, the owner of Jaagumäe farm in Võru County, told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that: "We're trying to look for sandier areas, and where there are no ruts and no water pooling in the furrows."

"However, this year so far, we have absolutely not been able to avoid the situation, as there are fields where there is water accumulating between the furrows, and there a risk that potatoes will be left to rot there too, so you have to be very vigilant with harvesting," he went on.

This year, six varieties of potatoes have been grown on the over 100ha of land the farm owns.

This fall, more than in previous years, the fields will be monitored in order to decided if they are dry enough before the tubers can be harvested, and that those potatoes which are harvested are edible, in other words none in which rot has set in end up in the hopper.

Meanwhile at the Vaarika farm in Põlva County, they have been cultivating potatoes for over 20 years.

On Monday of this week, only a few rows of the Laura variety of potato were harvested, though winter potatoes are due to be collected in a week or two.

By this time, it is hoped, the fields will be drier.

Anneli Prosa, Vaarika farm manager, said that the Laura strain is a relatively late variety and is so not quite ready yet.

She remained optimistic about the later crop, regardless of how poor the earlier harvest had been.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Leevi Lillemäe.

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