24 May 2017
Vegetable Market ReportHorticulture
At the moment, we are in a transitionary period between the start of new season crops and the finish of old season crops on many lines.
Many of the root crops are now harvested, with swedes in general now coming from cold store. Due to the quality of parsnips the season has been extended again this year and retailers are being urged to use Irish produce while it is available. The wet weather in March delayed plantings of most crops however, the dry April has meant there were no major issues.
The low light levels, particularly in coastal regions of the east and south east, which had affected the establishment of indoor salad crops in the early spring have improved in April and May. This has improved the quality and yields of crops. Irish peppers are now on the market for the past month however, it is disappointing to see only one grower now remaining in production who can only supply a small segment of the market.
- Average yields and quality on a lot of root crops, however the dry April and the cool nights during May has lengthened the season for Irish parsnips in particular and in some areas the season is running close to 11 months.
- Consumption on certain crops has reduced when compared to last year but this may be due to the milder winter, the impact of promotions etc.
- Crops were slow to germinate due to the dry spring and irrigation was needed in places however, the recent wet spell has brought things back on track.
- Some retailers have given small price increases on certain lines but it is not sufficient to cover labour cost increases etc.
- There has been some improvement on the availability of Irish produce regarding programmed promotions, however the retailers need to increase their engagement with growers on this issue.
- Irish York cabbage is now fully available and although demand has dropped it is helped by the reduction in supply.
- Cauliflower supply and demand is balanced therefore the market is positive with no recent gluts since March.
- Irish broccoli was slow to establish, however crops under fleece have made good progress in recent weeks.
Protected crops and salads:
- The season, which started poorly due to the poor growth of protected crops, has improved over April and May with consumption proving robust also.
- Scallions are now fully available over the past week.
- The reduction in the critical mass of growers in the salad vegetables remains a serious issue. The continued use of tenders and promotions by some retailers is not helping the situation either.
- Price deflation in the sector continues to undermine prices at farm gate level with the retail price of cucumbers for example down 15% in some retailers from 2016. Some retailers who stocked a number of Irish lines have now ceased these lines or have reduced the volume they are sourcing from Irish producers.