Changing weather patterns are hurting potato growth in Northern Ireland, according to producers in the region. 

Long periods of dry weather at present could affect crop yields later in the summer, according to potato farmers in Northern Ireland. 

A dry February allowed farmers to plant their early crops and rainfall that arrived later in the year has enabled farmers to lift their early harvest. 

However, a lengthy dry spell in May could affect later crops, known as "second earlies". 

William Gilmore, a fifth-generation potato farmer at Gilmore Farm Produce in County Down, told the BBC that he is concerned about the later crops, which are currently at tuber initiation stage and need rainfall to prevent scab from forming on the skin. 

Angus Wilson of the Wilson's Country potato farm also told the BBC that a shortage in potatoes will cause prices to rise. 

"The market has skyrocketed because there's not enough potatoes over the next two or three months," he told the BBC. 

Wilson added that changing weather patterns are playing a significant role in the problem, stating that a mixture of "sunshine and showers" is ideal for growing potatoes. 

"The weather seems to come in blocks now - it's dry for a longer period, then it's wet for a longer period.

"Sunshine and showers are perfect for growing potatoes, and that's not how we're getting our weather these days." 

Last year was one of the driest years on record in Europe, creating a shortfall of roughly two million tons of potatoes. 

That shortage has already caused potato prices to skyrocket in British supermarkets, with the price of a four-pack of supermarket own-label baking potatoes rising by 57% in the last 12 months. 

Meanwhile, the price of a bag of supermarket own-label oven chips weighing between 1.2 and 1.5kg has risen by 49% in the same timeframe. 

Overall, the UK Office for National Statistics has reported a 24.8% increase in the price of potatoes in the last year.