UK: Brassica crop down but not out

The UK brassica crop has, as with many other crops, not escaped the unpredictable weather this year. Alistair Ewan from East of Scotland Growers, says it has been a difficult season, "It has been a cool damp, non-existent Summer, with low light levels. The average rainfall during the summer has been around double normal but it’s the lack of sun that crops and humans miss. I have never seen such a difficult season."

The UK has seen torrential rain in the last few weeks which is causing crops to become waterlogged and making harvesting very challenging, now as Winter nears temperatures are dropping quickly slowing growth of late crops. Growers will struggle to harvest crops before the freeze sets in.

The biggest problem has been crop maturity, plants are not coming to harvest as they should. Alistair explains that yields are down by between 25-30%. "The east coast crop is less affected but late. In most areas we are are having to harvest more often than usual to maximise the harvest, this is pushing costs up."

Normally they would be finishing up with the broccoli harvest by mid-late November, but Alistair reckons it will continue until Christmas!

Retail prices are flat which is not helping growers recover costs.

Alistair concludes that, "It has been a year to forget!, roll on 2013, I am sure fresh challenges await."



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