The first trimester of 2018 experienced an exceptionally cold and wet transition into the new year of production.
Throughout Europe, we saw heavy rainfall and exceptionally cold temperatures until mid-April. The result: difficult winter harvests and a backlog in sowing the first spring and summer vegetables and herbs. It was not until the end of April that the sowing could begin. A possible consequence is the postponement of the harvest period by several weeks. It remains to be seen how the growth period will progress from May to July... (not yet known at the time this publication went to print).
The harvest of winter spinach started later due to continuous rainfall and a late frost. The results are not overwhelming, both in terms of volume and quality. Black salsify and leek started to grow at the beginning of April, also significantly later than normal.
The cauliflower harvest in Brittany was also delayed. We only saw larger harvest volumes at the end of April. Expected revenues were lower than planned.
As regards to sowing crops, delays of 2-3 weeks were observed in most countries. This is the case for herbs (parsley, dill, thyme, mint, etc.) as well as for vegetables: particularly peas, but vegetables grown in southern countries, such as broccoli, peppers and tomatoes, were also planted intermittently due to excessive rains in Spain and Portugal.
Harvesting delays can have harmful consequences for the availability of fresh-frozen vegetables. The available stocks from the 2017 harvest were also limited and delays to the 2018 harvest might further complicate the provisions from the new harvest.
In short: a challenge for agronomists, production and the supply chain. In terms of sales, there was continuous overall growth in sales volumes, although this sometimes varied from one country to another and from one segment to another.
An excellent harvest would therefore be useful in light of the increasing demand. It’s going to be tense.