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Heat wave will affect winter veg harvest at home and abroad

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While rains over the weekend have provided some respite to growers around the country, the industry is warning that the prolonged heat wave, which left some areas without rain for almost three months, will have longer term effects on the availability of vegetables across Europe.

Warnings have already been issued about the yields of traditional ‘winter’ veg crops such as carrots, onions and potatoes, but brassica growers are also warning of breaks in continuity and areas which have been too dry to allow the planting of winter crops.

Greville Richards, managing director of Southern England Farms, told the Fresh Produce Journal: “We’ve got some areas in Cornwall now that we just can’t plant because it’s so dry and we’re getting quite concerned now about our winter crops… we’re getting really worried about what we’re planting now for the winter months because it’s just getting too dry to plant.”

A number of potato growers have already said that they are unlikely to fulfil contracted volumes, and it is unlikely that suppliers will be able to import crop from Europe to fill the gap. The German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable, and Potato Processing Industry says that it expects a smaller, lower-quality potato crop, while the Swedish Farmers Association estimates its members could lose SEK8bn (~EUR 7.79bn).

Photo Caption: The canopy on many potato crops is still not meeting across the rows.

Photo Credit: flickr

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