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British onion growers breath collective sigh of relief

The British onion industry breathes a collective sigh of relief as it survives another potentially catastrophic weather challenge.

Now a distant memory, the unheralded cold spring left British onion growers fearing the worst as it approached the longest day of the year. Crops were 3 – 4 weeks behind normal development as they approached the crucial tipping point of changing light stimulus.

Thankfully Mother Nature preformed its normal balancing act by delivering an exceptionally ‘growy’ July that tipped the scales back towards a more normal crop performance. With hopes improving, our growers remained concerned that the late start would push harvest, into a more autumnal and condensed harvest period in October. The weather obliged to give us an unusually dry three week window, to complete the industry’s escape act.

Undoubtedly the investment the industry has put into its production systems over the last ten years has helped deliver this result. Irrigation capacity turned the dangerously hot July into a positive. Harvesting capacity and associated storage technology allowed the industry to capture a quality crop, in a very small window.

Though this is a reflection of the average position in the industry, there remains individual growers with some crop not yet harvested. These crops are still salvageable with care, but will be limited in where they can be marketed.

The end result is a yield that is down on expectation, between 10-12% in gross yield, with slightly smaller bulbs, but generally of good quality.

With the short delay in the start of the UK marketing season, the industry is confident that it will manage to keep continuity, for its valued customer base.

For more information:
Julia Hall-Jones
British Growers Association Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)1507 602427

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