Consumer potato growers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France will harvest 7 to 11 percent less potatoes this season. North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG). According to the growers ‘ organization, the disappointing yields are mainly due to the heat waves this summer.
In the EU4 countries, Belgium and France are the most affected by the very dry and hot summer. The Belgian harvest would be 20 percent lower. However, situations vary considerably between countries and regions. in the Netherlands, the damage north of the major rivers is also noticeable, because more rain fell there. The NEPG estimates that the final yield in the EU4 countries is between 20 and 21 million tonnes.
As for the area in the NEPG zone, the growers ‘ organization reckons with 510,938 hectares. This is an increase of 3.2 percent compared to last year and a growth of 1.7 percent compared to the five-year average. Dutch growers planted 7.7 percent more consumer potatoes in 2022 than in 2021.
Difficult and costly
The summer of 2022 will go down in the books as a difficult and costly year. Not only because of the low yields, but also because of the high energy and irrigation costs. According to the NEPG, the quality and storage problems in consumer potato cultivation are mainly due to the heat waves this summer.
In addition to reports of not only too high underwater weights and too little tuber length, the realization of sufficient dormancy is more worrying, writes NEPG. Early germination in storage will also make the upcoming storage season more difficult and expensive. The potatoes may have to deal more with weight loss and bruising due to unfavorable harvesting conditions, for example.
Contract prices not cost-covering
The NEPG expects that this season, unlike 2018-2019, potatoes from other parts of Europe will not be needed. That is while the needs of the processors have increased sharply in recent years. Furthermore, the NEPG states that the contract prices will not cover the additional costs that farmers will have to face in the coming period.
When the current contract prices for 2022-2023 were signed, the prices were still acceptable. That changed after the outbreak of the Ukraine war. In addition, production costs have risen sharply over the past six months. According to the NEPG, potato growers are therefore concerned about their income.
With the higher costs of electricity, diesel and fertilizers, among others, and greater risks associated with climate change and the Ukraine war, some entrepreneurs are wondering what to plant or sow in the spring of 2023. Without guarantees from buyers, they could decide to grow more alternative crops. “Rising costs must be shared across the entire supply chain.’
A source: https://www.nieuweoogst.nl