By the sales and marketing director of the Jersey Royal Company, William Church THE last couple of weeks have been extremely wet and the ground is saturated which has dramatically affected planting. In a normal year the plan is to commence outdoor planting at the start of January and sequentially to plant through to the end of March to ensure that there is a consistent supply of fresh skinning Royals over the season.
The main onset of promotional activity traditionally kicks off in May, however, owing to the recent delays in planting, there will not be the expected volume at the start of May and the crop and customer expectations will have to be carefully managed.
The weather last weekend was better, and this has continued over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and we have been able to plant again.
In real terms of area planted we are slightly behind last year (which was also very wet and delayed), and up to the end of last week the Island had planted only about ¼ of what would have been planted against a corresponding date in 2012, 2011 and other years.
The temperatures remain very mild (11°c during the day and 5°c at night as an average) and the early potatoes that were planted before Christmas in greenhouses and at the start of January on the early côtils are all growing well and looking extremely strong and healthy.
A very few Royals were lifted from the corner of one greenhouse last week to supply some local restaurants and to give a ‘taste’ to selected wholesale panellists for Valentine’s day.
The two pictures shown: The first is of saturated ground taken at the end of last week and the second shows the subsequent improvement, taken Tuesday 28 February.