Belgian Poor Weather

The exceptional weather conditions this spring, with severe temperatures and excessive rain have greatly affected the outdoor cultivation of Belgian vegetables. Even if the longer term forecasts are better, the impact that the weather of the past one and a half months has had cannot be denied.

After all, for some vegetables the damage is irreversible which will lead to major supply problems in the Belgian frozen vegetable companies.

A brief overview:

* Spinach: virtually nothing has been sown since 15 April. The frozen vegetable companies therefore expect little supply of raw material between 5 and 20 June. This gap in production cannot be filled with another crop. Furthermore, many spinach plots were hit by hail on Tuesday 15 May which may lead to quality issues.

* Peas: the same problem occurred during sowing. A greatly reduced supply is expected between 10 July and end of that month. In view of the delayed sowing of the peas, the sector is obliged to delay sowing beans by some two weeks. However the end date for the sowing cannot be moved up.

As a result the planning for the carrots, that follow the pea production, must be moved to a later date. The inadequate supply of peas is also causing gaps in the companies' production schedule, since the peas cannot be replaced by another product.

* Cauliflower: only 40 to 45% was planted before 15 May. It is very doubtful how the old plants will react to this overdue planting, which after all was planned for a month earlier.

Little production is expected between 1 and 20 July, whilst the later production of the cauliflower will perhaps be at the expense of the young carrots. Finally, the yields are difficult to estimate as a result of all these shifts.

* Large carrots, carrots for slicing, celeriac and Brussels sprouts: as a result of the delay incurred, top yields are not expected for these vegetables either.

In short, the coming production year for the Belgian growers and processors of outdoor vegetables will be a major challenge for the growers and the frozen vegetable companies with the planning requiring a lot of puzzling.