A farm in Ballabeg has announced that this will be its last year producing Manx potatoes.

Maurice and Kevin Coole of Ballaquinney Farm shared the news on Facebook, thanking customers who’ve supported them over the last 50 years.

In their announcement they cited a rise in costs and a drop in sales and said the farm, that produces beef cattle, sheep, firewood, hay and haylage along with its spuds, is to focus on future projects. They said: ‘It certainly isn’t an easy decision but with the continued rise in energy, fertilizer and seed costs, amidst a sharp slump in local sales we feel a high-risk crop like potatoes is becoming too expensive to risk growing for our business.

‘We would like to thank all our customers who have supported us over the last 50 years, and those who support local produce in general. We have enough supply to last this summer 2024.’

Kevin added that they are both looking forward to future projects and his dad is looking forward to ‘getting some of his life back’ and enjoying semi-retirement.

Reacting to the announcement, many people expressed their sadness at the decision and extended their sympathies to the island’s farming community.

One said: ‘This is desperate news Kevin. Such a tough decision, your spuds are the best, farmers are so under appreciated and before long there will be none left’.

Another commented: ‘Sorry to hear this boys best spuds we have had’.

And one person pointed at the challenges farmers are facing at the moment. It read: ‘Sad news. I thought what have things come to when I saw you exporting ware, I really feel for farmers on the island at moment.

‘It just seems to be getting harder and riskier to try and make a poor return on their investment.’