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Potatoes

Potato is the world’s third most important food crop with global acreage rising faster than that of any other crop due to its high yield potential and excellent nutritional characteristics. For more Irish industry related information and statistics click here. Teagasc has been conducting research on potatoes since the 1960s. Currently there are four primary research initiatives along with a Knowledge Transfer programme.

The Irish potato continues be play an important part in Irish diets. Irish potato production has decreased from 332,000 hectares in 1850 to just over 9,000 hectares.  Our average annual potato consumption is 85kg a person, (2½ times higher than the world average) but in the 1990s that figure was 140kg a head. See more on consumer trends here.

Potatoes grown in Ireland can be broken down into four main growing types: Early Potatoes, Main Crop Potatoes, Seed Potatoes and Salad Potatoes.

 Early potatoes (Hectares)Main Crop
(Hectares)
Seed
(Hectares)
Salad
(Hectares)
2016 740 8,000 220 180
2017 570 7,770 220 222

Early Potatoes are generally harvested in June and supply the market until early September. Main crop potatoes (70% of which is sown to a variety called Rooster) has the greatest area and due to refrigerated storage supplies the market year around. 

Salad potatoes are small potatoes (quicker to cook) and are supplied from August to December. Seed potatoes are grown to supply the source of the majority of next years crop.

The industry has an approximate farm gate value of approximately €85m per annum. The main markets include: Retail (washed potatoes in bags), Pre pared, Fresh Chips, Salad potatoes, Processing (mash, chips, etc).  There are no potatoes processed into frozen chips in Ireland.

Yields of potatoes can be variable depending on the weather during the season and around harvest. Yields of potatoes shown below are from the CSO and Teagasc estimates. For More CSO information click here

 2016
(t/ha)
2017
(t/ha)
Main Crop Yields 38.9 45.1
The quest for the perfect crisp - Fergus Meade

Fergus Meade explains how research conducted at Teagasc on the feasibility of using genomic selection has helped to improve potatoes for the crisping and chipping sectors.