09 Nov 2016
Vegetable Market ReportHorticulture
Vegetable Market Report
Summary: Following a difficult and cold spring, outdoor crops have performed reasonably over the summer and autumn. However, yields would be down on last year, particularly in areas which were affected by drier conditions. Sales of the more traditional vegetables such as cabbage were only average during the summer due to humid weather, sports events etc. Protected crop salad growers would have experienced reduced yields also, as low light levels, particularly in coastal regions of the south east, affected fruit growth and ripening. Growers of a few lines received paltry increases from retailers, however farm gate prices need to increase across the board. Along with the continued threat of below cost selling, the risk of cheaper UK imports due to a weakened pound now overshadows the market.
Reports for root crop, brassica sectors:
- Yield reductions of up to 10% are evident across all crops due to initial poor establishment of early crops and drought conditions experienced in certain regions of the country at critical times.
- Retailers still reluctant to increase farm gate prices despite labour cost increases etc.
- Irish root crops are particularly vulnerable to cheaper imports from the UK and IFA has called on the DAFM, Bord Bia and the retailers to beware of mislabelling.
- 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.
- The cost of packaging has become a major issue across all lines. Even though the retailer changes packaging at their own bequest, the primary producer seems to bear the extra change over costs incurred.
- Late start to the season with crops such as broccoli.
- Demand of the traditional brassicas affected over the summer, but at least most growers adhered to programmes again this year with supply and demand reasonably in balance.
- Again, this year there were major fluctuations in the supply of broccoli and cauliflowers due to supply both domestically and abroad. At one stage, Irish broccoli was exported to the UK due to shortages there.
- Retailers guilty of programming promotions when certain crop lines were not available.
- Brussel sprout acreages are reduced but hopefully less losses in crops this year will fill the demand.
Protected crops and salads
- Very poor start to season, similar to last year due to cold and wet. Iceberg lettuce and scallions badly affected, however, the weather, along with demand improved as the season progressed.
- Due to the loss of scallion growers, more were imported as a result. This is a serious problem across all salad lines as the critical mass of growers in each line is at a minimum.
- Yields of indoor crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers were reduced due to the poor light levels during the summer however consumption levels were good.
- There were less instances of below cost selling of tomatoes this year which led to a more balanced market for the Irish produced crop. For the first time, Lidl also stocked Irish tomatoes on a consistent programmed basis while Aldi increased their volumes year on year.
- Price deflation in the sector continues to undermine prices at farmgate level.