Brief crop report:
Cauliflower in the summer yield, in the main growing area in Belgium, was 30% less than predicted. This drop in yield was caused by very hot and dry weather conditions. The second harvest in September was rather normal.
This has several consequences:
- Average cost price increase: The price in euros ex field was higher in the September crop than in the summer crop.
- Hiccups in the supply of fresh cauliflower increases the number of start-ups in the factory, less smooth operations mean higher costs.
- In general farmers demand a higher price on cauliflower because there is a lot of manual labour as it’s only semi mechanized harvesting.
- During high season large factories can have 500 people working in the field cutting cauliflower. These intensive crops are the result of yearlong agronomic expertise. If a farmer gives up, we lose an entire generation of growers.
- As with peas you can’t predict the exact day when crop will be ready for processing. This means you need to reserve full capacity in the factory without being sure that this capacity will actually be used. Large Factories have the big advantage that they can run simultaneously on up to 4 lines per factory, smaller factories don’t have this flexibility which leads to fields/farmers that need to abandon production from time to time.
– Poland: extreme increase of labour cost
– Brittany: comparable situation to Flanders, but more moderate weather conditions. Limited processing capacity