Farmers predict a bumper crop of Jersey Royals this season

Jersey farmers are holding out for a bumper crop of Royal potatoes after heavy rain washed out production for the past two seasons.

Planting of the Jersey Royals started one month earlier than normal to catch up with lost sales and this resulted in a record cropping three weeks earlier than normal.

Jersey Royal Company production director Barrie Hamel said: "We planted in early December. It is the earliest I have ever planted outdoor Royals for export."

The good news followed a major deal between the grower and Tesco to supply the supermarket with the first of this year's outdoor crop.

Tesco potato buyer Jonathan Corbett said: "Jersey Royals are widely regarded as the champagne of the potato world and are the biggest export from the island.

"Last year, Jersey Royal growers suffered the worst harvest in living memory after prolonged heavy rainfall when potatoes were dug out of the ground aided by tractors."

The earliest outdoor Jersey Royals are traditionally planted on steep, south-facing slopes and covered with a plastic mulch to protect them from the elements.

"These early slopes produced great-quality early crops, aided by the warmest late winter Jersey weather for a number of years."

Plantings had increased this year by 20 per cent.

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