Worries about the weather, but the effect on potatoes is unlikely to be "catastrophic".

05-02-2012Antoni Pol

Sa Pobla's potato growers are on alert because of adverse weather conditions. With high winds and overnight temperatures dropping towards freezing, there are some concerns about the effect on the new potato crop, the harvesting of which should start around the first week of March.

Representatives from the potato exporting cooperatives, Mateu and S'Esplet, say that there is no reason to be alarmist. The situation is not potentially "catastrophic" and is being closely monitored. The potato nurseries are kitted out with software systems that operate automatically if the temperature falls to 1C. A film of water is created that protects the potato plants.

High winds are just as potentially damaging as icy conditions. Two years ago when the crop was badly affected by flooding, winds that followed added to what was a disaster for some growers.

The cold conditions aren't of course unusual. The farmers anticipate there being cold spells two or three times each winter. Normally, they don't cause any real problems, though this can depend on how well the new potato crop is. At present, it is said to be healthy. Warm and dry weather in December helped the crop to recover from what had been an excessively wet November.

The Sa Pobla new potato is the most profitable of all the potatoes grown in the municipality.