A shortage of seed potatoes will seriously limit the acreage of maincrop spuds planted this year and is likely to hit yields.

“Many growers only received approximately 50% of the seed they requested from merchants,” said Niamh Brennan, IFA potato policy executive.

“The remainder will be made up from home-saved seed, this has the potential to significantly reduce quality and marketable yield in a year where shortages are already a concern,” Brennan maintained.

Scotland traditionally supplied the bulk of Ireland’s seed potatoes for the 21,000ac of maincrop planted each year. However, Brexit seriously disrupted this trade.

“The availability of seed for the potato sector is a concern for the upcoming season and even more pressing for 2025,” Brennan warned. The IFA executive said tight seed supplies are a factor of the potato trade right across Europe and is being driven by higher production costs.

Dublin-based potato grower Ollie Whyte said the shortage of seed was compounding the difficulties at farm level. He currently has around 70% of the seed he requires, and was promised 20% more. But he admitted that supplies are tight and some growers had only received a fraction of what they need.

“We’ll have to put some of our own ware into the mix to bridge the gap,” he conceded.

Whytes would normally have most of the maincrop planted by mid-April, but haven’t started planting yet.