Retail demand and consumption remain stable and are described as similar to pre-pandemic levels at present. Many growers are now digging into stores. There are reports of very dry harvesting conditions in the south east especially and some growers are delaying harvest to avoid damage upon lifting. Demand for chipping varieties is strong with growers reporting calls from Europe for product. Queens have cleared well at this point. Lifting of Kerr Pinks has begun with excellent quality being reported, however, yields are significantly reduced.
In the U.K. recent rainfall has given some crops a boost and improved yields have been seen in the West Midlands. In the East, rain has been too late to make any significant difference. Agronomists note that some later varieties including Markies and Melody have “greened up” but now have lower D.M. and signs of secondary growth. Quality issues are now also a huge concern. Levels of common scab in M.Piper are “disturbing” from Scotland down to the South East and “internals” are also being found. Bruising caused by high dry matter but also “tube sensitivity” is causing some high levels of rejection but damage levels are also on the increase as soils dry out again.
Lifting conditions across Northern Europe have improved greatly in areas which caught the rain last week but there are still parts which are dry and it is still difficult to lift crops without causing damage. Clearance in France is estimated at around 30%. Storage has started and there already comments that premature sprouting is “widespread”.