As a result of the warm and sunny weather in recent weeks, all asparagus growers are prepared for an early season. "It's normally around 10 degrees this time of year, but at the moment it's almost 20. The asparagus production is being pushed forward due to the heat and no one knows what this will bring.
“We have a good period for Brussels sprouts behind us. However, at the moment, auction prices are meager. Normally, when there is winter weather, the demand is good. This reflects in the prices received at auction", says BelOrta's Guy Jennes. “The current auction price for medium-sized Brussels sprouts is very low. The larger sizes are getting better prices, but it is still too little.
After the crisis at the start of last year, it is going well on the leek market this year. "There is sufficient supply but not too much. That is doing the prices good", says Rik Decadt of the Belgian auction house. "On Monday morning, the prices were between EUR065 and EUR070 per kg. Last week they were between EUR070 and EUR075 per kg. When we look at last year's prices at around this time, they were lower by more than half."
The potato processing industry sees trouble on the horizon. The dry weather could mean a potato harvest with low yields and small sizes. For potato processors, this means high prices, smaller chips, and a limited choice. "There is already talk of 30% fewer potatoes. That is huge", says Tom Demeyer of Belgian chip manufacturer, Roger & Roger. This company tries to use as many local Belgian potatoes in its processing as possible.
"This summer is characterised by dry, hot weather. Our growers are hard at work supplying water to their plants. They are often busy at night, moving irrigation pumps. They hardly sleep and are worked very hard", says Guy Jennes of BelOrta. This Belgian auction house has heard that many farmers are still able to irrigate well. "We are keeping in mind that the dry weather might have long-term consequences.
The cherry acreage of the Belgische Fruitveiling, or BFV, has shown a rising line for years. The importance of covered production in particular is increasing. This year the cooperative expects a short and challenging season. The cherry season once again started for the BFV mid-June. The harvesting period is less long than usual this year because of the shorter flowering season.
The Belgian fruit cultivation sector is currently waiting with bated breath whether the night frost of 19 to 20 April will be recognised as an agricultural disaster. This will become known after 10 June. “We then get a view of the total amount of damage. At the moment, every municipality is busy questioning the growers and estimating their damage.
A prolonged hard frost in Belgium's main fruit-growing region last week has had a devastating effect on crops, according to its main grower body. Flanders' Boerenbond (Farmers' League) reported that in the night of 19-20 April, "the cold snap was much stronger than forecasts had predicted". In south Limburg, the "Haspengouw" region which produces more than half of Belgium's tree fruit, temperatures reached -6°C - the worst blossom-time frosts for over 25 years, coinciding with blossom that was two weeks early.
Due to the strong hail in the Belgian region of Borgloon, less fruit is expected to come from the area this year. Jackie Boussier, of the eponymous trading company isn’t very optimistic about the coming season. Besides the hail the sector is also suffering from competition from Eastern Europe, says the experienced trader. The cause of this is the heavy hail which has made the fruit completely worthless. It will be a difficult year.
Stories about large losses in harvest in the Belgian sector due to the heavy rainfall are circulating in various media. However no percentage can be tied to this at the moment, they are still too busy with the total damage inventory. It's impossible to estimate for the entire country, as it differs per region and even per plot. In vegetables this indication is made much more quickly.
In Belgium the apple area is around 7000 hectares and over 9000 for pears. Around 60% of this is in the province Limburg. The share of 600 hectares is therefore 5 to 6%. Luc indicated that this situation is not comparable to the damage during the 'Pukkelpop storm' in 2011. Back then a large area was damaged at once, but this time it is very local. Producers are at their wits ends. Some were insured, some weren't. That makes it very tough. Of course it's awful what has happened, but we also have to be realistic and conclude that some growers don't opt for insurance or protection through hail nets.
News Publications Documents
Agricultural insurance Analitics Australia Canada Canada crop crop insurance crop loss crop losses damage disease drought farmers fire flood frost Hail India News Philippines rain Russia Spain Ukraine USA USA АЧС Болезни Господдержка Европа Заболевания Казахстан животноводство засуха кукуруза метеообзор озимые потеря урожая пшеница свиноводство состояние посевов соя страхование посевов субсидии урожай