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It’s early May and we are fast approaching the end of this year’s planting season.

Today we are off to visit two of our long serving Growers over in the North West, who are both planting our much loved Innovator variety. The seed has been delivered  and checked and is in good condition for planting.

First up we head over the border, to North Wales. This is the first year that these fields have had any crops planted on them and therefore, we are hoping for a really good potato yield.

On a good day, our Growers can aim to plant up to 40 acres. Innovator is generally planted around 34cm apart, depending on seed size etc. They are expected to yield in the region of 18 tonnes to each acre planted and one bag of seed generally covers one acre of land. Innovator is a long tuber variety and its main distinctive characteristic is its russeted skin finish.

This Grower will also be planting two crisping varieties, that have come through our breeding program. The crisping varieties will be planted in the same field as the Innovator.I It will be great to see how they perform against the Innovator.

Next up we head over the Runcorn bridge, into Lancashire. Although it’s just a short drive between the farms, the soil types are completely different and here we are planting the Innovator on a dark moss soil type, soil typical of Lancashire. Once again, the land is a really good home for the Innovator, as the ground is fantastic at containing the moisture, which  helps the variety bulk up.

Both Growers will aim to get the Innovator planted before the end of the month, that’s in the region of 100 acres planted.

We will be back throughout the next 16 weeks to keep our eyes on the crops and to see how they are performing. Then, in August, we will take samples and complete yield digs to determine how much ware the crops will produce. We will also do dry matter, tasting and fry tests to ensure we get the tastiest chips possible for our customer. Once this has been achieved, the crops will be burnt off allowing the potatoes’ skins to set before it’s time to be harvested. You can expect to see these potatoes made into chips by early September time.

Joe Leech – Procurement Manager

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