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Assessing the Winter Drought Risks to 2012 Potato Production in England and Wales

Publication Date: 
15 February 2012
Author/Contact :
J. Knox, A. Daccache and T.M. Hess

Contractor :
Cranfield University

The spring weather conditions in 2011 represented one of driest on record in England and Wales, creating challenging conditions for many potato growers. But concerns regarding possible summer water abstractions disappeared following a wet June and return to more ‘normal’ conditions. However, in November 2011, the Environment Agency (EA) warned that below average rainfall during the autumn and winter periods were causing environmental concern. Nine of the EA indicator sites for monitoring groundwater levels in the Midlands and Southern England were reported to be ‘exceptionally low’ and five were reported to be at their lowest since records began (EA, 2011). The AHDB Potatoes therefore commissioned Cranfield University to assess the potential water risks to growers by focussing on the impacts on soil moisture availability and implications for crop establishment.

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