New onions looking good despite weather extremes

The British onion season is transitioning from last season’s onions to the new crop. The old onions will be on the market for another week to 10 days, then the new crop will be available. There are also some imported onions around just now.

“As far as the growing season goes it has been a real year of extremes,” comments Tim Elcombe, Chairman of British Onion Growers. “It was a wet winter from December to February, we had 170% of normal year’s rainfall, it was dry enough in March to get the planting done, but the long period of frost in April stopped growth in the plants. It has been better the last couple of months although more recently it has been dull with lots of localised heavy showers.

"Despite this its not looking too bad and we expect average yields, quality will depend on the weather though. We need both good sunshine and some rain. Growers have not had to irrigate yet, but the extreme weather does make it difficult for growers to be efficient or to make accurate predictions.”

Input costs are going up for growers from fertilizer and seed to haulage and labour and these costs need to be met, he explained.

“The Dutch planted acreage has increased by 11% and although the majority of onions will be exported to the African and Asian markets it may still affect the UK market to a degree if they fail to export the volumes due to the problems such as container availability and shipping delays," Elcombe continued.

Last year was an interesting year for sales with retail doing very well, while food service saw a huge dip due to the lockdowns.

“We are now seeing a switch back to a more normal sales pattern, but will only really know in September or October if this has returned to normal levels. This of course dependent on a full return to normality," he concluded.

Source: Fresh Plaza