Christmas dinner roast potatoes under threat as storms lead to 'lowest crop on record'

Water-logged farms in Britain have led to a potato shortage this year, ITV News' Ben Chapman has the latest

There are fears the impact of recent storms could threaten the number of roast potatoes on the UK’s Christmas dinner plates this year.

Farmers are struggling with one of the toughest harvests on record during an Autumn washout, with the potato crop hit particularly badly.

Experts warn it is expected to hit a record low of 4.1 tonnes, with retailers forced to supplement supplies from cold storage.

Fred Seale, editor of the Fresh Produce Journal, said: "The British potato harvest has been hit hard by heavy rain and flooding in recent weeks, causing delayed lifting and large crop losses.

“This was preceded by a cold, wet spring and a cool summer with low light levels.

"With the potatoes that are in store there's likely to be enough supply to meet demand for the time being, but that might not be the case in the months ahead."

The UK has been hit with Storms Agnes, Babet and Ciaran in recent weeks, bringing unprecedented rainfall – almost double the average for October.

As well as potatoes, crops of Christmas dinner favourites like broccoli and cauliflower have also been affected by the poor weather.

Supplies of sprouts and parsnips, which have been impacted, are expected to recover in time for Christmas.

Lincolnshire grower Martin Tate said: “There won't be enough broccoli to supply the Christmas dinner demand.

There is also a European-wide shortage of broccoli. Credit: PA

"There is a nationwide shortage of broccoli, in fact, there's a European wide shortage.

“The whole of northern Europe, including Germany, has been experiencing the same wet conditions as us, as have Poland and Holland.

"Imports from Spain have been hit by an exceptionally dry summer.”

The warning come as a new report from the Energy & Climate Intelligence Uni has found British households are likely to pay an extra £605 for food in 2022 and 2023 due to climate change impacts and historically high oil, gas, and fertiliser prices.

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