Tim Elcombe, Chairman of British Onion Growers has said that the UK industry is moving into new season crops smoothly as the harvest gets underway, although there is still some old crop and imported product on the market.
“As far as the growing season goes it has been a real year of extremes,” he said. “It was a wet winter from December to February, we had 170 per cent of normal year’s rainfall, it was dry enough in March to get the planting done, but the long period of frost in April stopped growth in the plants. It has been better the last couple of months although more recently it has been dull, with lots of localised heavy showers. Despite this it’s not looking too bad, and we expect average yields, quality will depend on the weather though. We need both good sunshine and some rain. Growers have not had to irrigate yet, but the extreme weather does make it difficult for growers to be efficient or to make accurate predictions.”
He added, “The Dutch planted acreage has increased by 11 per cent, and although the majority of onions will be exported to the African and Asian markets it may still affect the UK market to a degree if they fail to export the volumes due to the problems such as container availability and shipping delays.”