The onion harvest on the Lüneburger Heide is now slowly picking up speed. But the continuing dry circumstances and high temperatures in the northern German growing area are giving onion producers a hard time this year, confirms Kerstin Meinicke, Managing Director of the marketing organization Heide-Zwiebel. "We expect normal yields due to the current situation."
On Thursday, September 3rd, the official start of the new onion season was given and Heide-Zwiebel started sorting and marketing the main harvest. "We all thought there would be big, thick onions this year. Unfortunately, then came the heat wave, which had a serious effect on the growth of the onions. This means that we will already be able to harvest large calibres, but not to the extent that was previously expected. All in all, we will not have a peak harvest, but a normal yield," predicts Mrs Meinicke.
Long-term storage is possible until mid-June due to the cold storage capacities of Heide-Zwiebel.
Start of the main season
In spite of the difficult climatic conditions, a normal marketing situation is expected. The winter onions and bulbs are by and large gone, and the Palatinate early varieties will also be phased out soon. Directly afterwards, the sales window for the North German onions normally opens. "This week the first retail promotions will start. Then the marketing will successively start."
Currently, the onion prices at the beginning of the season are slightly below the level of the previous year.
Area expansion in Lower Saxony
In addition to the standard yellow onions, Heidezwiebel also trades regional cultivated red batches. Although it is still a niche on the onion market, the market share is increasing slightly, Meinicke observes. "In our region, we are also seeing an expansion of area, but to a small extent."
Not only for the red batches, but also for the yellow ones the tendency is still increasing, Mrs. Meinicke adds. "In recent years, we have been seeing more and more new producers in our region who are deciding to grow onions for price reasons. This leads to an increase in area, similar to the Rhineland. From my point of view, the trend will continue to rise as long as there are high onion prices."