There is not much to do in the celeriac market. This is because there is a broad demand and a lot of sales. In the Netherlands, 70% of this product is still in the fields. This situation is normal for this time of year. However, the weather is persistently wet. There is also a lingering demand for smaller sizes. Time is, therefore, slowly becoming of the essence. All this is according to Robert den Ouden of Rodeno Agri Products in Goes, the Netherlands.
“A lot of celeriac is being exported," says Robert. "We have seen a broad demand from Southern, Eastern, and Northern Europe. There is also continuing export to overseas countries. These are decreasing now. Farmers are harvesting these tubers all over Europe."
"The demand for this product has, therefore, dropped slightly, compared to recent months. We were very busy then. Poland is a major market. They are not on the market themselves yet. They are the biggest celeriac growers themselves. They have enough of their own product from the start."
Demand for smaller sizes
“As usual, there is a particularly high demand for smaller celeriac. We have had decent amounts of rain in recent weeks. The tubers are still, healthy, in the fields. We, in the Netherlands, have, therefore, had quite a bit of regrowth."
According to Robert, prices are not too bad yet. "However, there might be a chance that there will be a lot of celeriac on offer in the market. This is if conditions become dry right away and everyone starts grubbing. Prices will then drop too."
“I suspect about 30% of the celeriac crops have been harvest at the moment. That means 70% is still in the fields. That is very normal. We would actually like to grub these, considering their size. Unfortunately, it is too wet for this. As a grower, you want your crop to be dry and safe in your storage cell."
"At the same time, it might rain until Christmas. Then, harvesting becomes very difficult. It was less wet in other countries. They will have a good range of sizes. Clients may, therefore, approach us later, in the Netherlands."
Robert expects good yields in the Netherlands. "This year's yields are much higher than those of last year. Last year's tubers were practically all of the correct size for the fresh market. Our yields were 30% below average. That is not the case this year. Our yields will be average or above-average for the Netherlands this year."
There is a downside to the good Dutch yields. This is according to Robert. "When you have a good yield, it goes hand-in-hand with larger sizes. That is not actually what we want. We want tubers that weigh up to 1,2kg. These are easier to sell on the fresh market."
"If they grow larger, they become more difficult to sell. You are more reliant on industry processors too. And they do not want to pay. That is why you must try to keep your celeriac below 1,2kg. They will then remain popular in the fresh market."
The constant rain is keeping farmers waiting for the correct time to harvest. Robert expects it will, therefore, become increasingly interesting how the remaining 70% of the harvest will go. “We hope to be able to grub the celeriac when the weather clears. But, if it starts to frost, you are faced with an entirely different scenario."
"If the tubers freeze, you, as a grower, have nothing left. Those who have stock in storage can then count themselves lucky. We will soon basically be at the mercy of the weather. We can only hope for the best," concludes Robert.