"Carrot grubbing season's begun again. However, the wet weather is making harvesting more difficult. But the rain's good for the carrots themselves. Most are still on the small side. The rain means they can still grow a bit," says Frans Cool of Paul Cool in Belgium. "Despite the small sizes, the carrots are of good quality. We're currently working with lighter soil lots. We can, at least, grub up some of the carrots. But, I think most will remain in the soil for a while. They must grow to the correct size."
Summer was characterized by high prices, which meant exports didn't get going. "In the surrounding countries, carrot prices were much lower. So, there wasn't much demand for Belgian carrots. There's more demand at the moment. Prices are lower, and exports are on the rise. We're currently exporting to Southern Europe, France, and Africa."
"But the domestic market is our biggest one. The lower prices are favorable for exports. However, considering the dry summer we've had, the prices are too low. The average yield per hectare is much lower than in a normal year. It would be nice, especially for growers, if carrot prices would increase slightly," says Frans.
"Onions also have a lower than usual yield. The dry summer has certainly had its impact. The onions' quality is good, but the average yield is 30 tons/ha. In a normal year, it's 50 to 60 tons. Onion cultivation has increased in Belgium in recent years. The dry summers have, however, affected these crops. Irrigation's becoming increasingly important for both carrot and onion farming. But it's tough in Belgium. Our plots are further apart, and water is scarce. In dry times, irrigation's banned too."
"Our soil, on the other hand, is suitable for these crops. The plants, however, need moisture and rain. That's become a growing problem in recent years. If this phenomenon continues, I fear for many crops. Nevertheless, we try to remain upbeat and provide our clients with good quality carrots and onions. People need tasty, healthy products, especially during this corona crisis. We hope everyone stays healthy and that we don't go into another lockdown," Frans concludes.