Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show this morning on Newstalk, Hackett said, “The big problem is that the farmers – vegetable and potato growers – are not in a position to take on the pressures that weather comes with in the present time.”
Hackett, who specialises in the agronomy of vegetables and potatoes, highlighted that, in Ireland, we had a very dry February, then we had a very wet March and April, and then we got very dry.
“Overall, our rainfall is probably normal enough, but it’s coming in bursts, and crops don’t really like that.”
“It puts us in a position where the crops don’t like growing in very dry conditions, and it’s just made the situation very difficult to get the crops established.
“We’ve a long day length, and we have […] soil moisture reserves that would make the crops grow,” Hackett said.
“The crops are designed to work in the temperate climate that we have.
“They take this long day length with the heat and moisture, and they grow very rapidly.
“If one is missing – if it’s very cold or it’s very dry – one of the ingredients [is] missing, so the crops don’t grow the way they should.
“What happened this year – during the very wet March and April – we just couldn’t plant the crops. The crops are sitting in boxes and seed bags, where they shouldn’t be.
“Then, when the weather stopped raining, the moisture deficit meant that the crops couldn’t establish [themselves].”
Shortages In Europe
Hackett noted that in Spain, for instance, aquifers are used for irrigation.
“They’ve labour issues, and they have poor returns from growers, too, so there isn’t the stuff there in Europe,” he added.
“There isn’t the stuff from the UK [because] Brexit had a severe impact on our supply chain.
“The growers in the UK are under severe pressure as well. The number of growers in the UK is collapsing.
“They had worse weather than we had,” Hackett concluded.