“Production has been less cautious than in previous years”
The domestic season is reaching its end. Krist Hemerlinck of Belgian organic greenhouse vegetable company EcoVeg looks back on the past season.
“The quality of domestic products is still above average. This is remarkable, because quality usually decreases somewhat near the end of the season. I think it’s because production was much less cautious than in previous years. There’s still enough energy in the greenhouses, in part because of CHPs.” EcoVeg’s production will continue for a while. “We’ll harvest the final bell peppers in week 47. We’ll continue with tomatoes until the end of week 48. Most organic growers stop around week 46.”
“Prices are under a fair bit of pressure because of Spanish competition. Consumers on the domestic market often prefer products grown in their own country, but we have noticed prices are dropping in exports to, for example, the UK and Scandinavia. Spain is clearly breaking onto the market. As soon as we stop supplying, prices will probably start rising again.”
Colorado potato beetle
It wasn’t an easy year for EcoVeg. The bell peppers were affected by Heteroptera and the aubergines by the Colorado potato beetle. “The beetles will remain a point of attention in future. They all crawled into the ground mid-September, and you never know when they might emerge again. In nature they’ll usually start emerging again from May, but in a heated greenhouse they might start showing up in February.”
EcoVeg also has a production company in Mexico. Many discussion were held here recently about growing organically on natural substrate. In the end, it was decided that this is still allowed. In Mexico, EcoVeg grows using a hybrid system. Krist: “We add less than 20 per cent liquid organic nitrogen. For a while, it looked as if companies that add more than 20 per cent could no longer be called organic, but in the end, this decision was voted down. Competition is therefore still at full strength.”
“We haven’t planned any major changes in our production schedule for 2018. However, we will start to pay more attention to the rust mite and other types of mite.”
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Publication date: 11/9/2017
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