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"As long as we do not reach thirty degrees Celsius, we're fine"
For the Dutch growers, May was an exceptionally hot month with lots of beautiful weather. One after the other weather record was broken. Besides a lot of sun, various places in The Netherlands had to deal with serious weather. What is the impact on growers of these temperatures - quite extreme for the Netherlands?
Barely made it
For the cultivation of tomatoes the weather is bad, a grower from De Lier tells when asked. "I think that in the south of Europe the growth season is lasting a bit longer, and therefore there is still supply. Because the supply is large in The Netherlands too because of the heat, supply and demand are no longer in balance. Normally you see consumption grow if the weather is good, but now it is not compensating for the large supply. It is waiting for better times. The turnover is lower than in 2017".
Meanwhile production is running fast. The grower from De Lier: "We had a production lag until recently, but with current temperatures that lag is gone." The plants require extra water because of the high temperatures, so it's important to keep that in mind. "The basin was running empty because we had little rain recently."
The peaks in production have to be dealt with by extra staff, but it is hard to find that extra staff. "Properly motivated personnel is there, but it is a problem to find housing for them. The housing market is overheated, and that is a burden to us. Particularly at the beginning of May the labor market was restricted, because of the high demand for labor in bedding plants, but my colleagues are barely making it right now with regard to labor."
Hour earlier off
Koos Brouwer from cucumber nursery Brouwer in Nootdorp is not worried about the weather extremes of the last days. Koos is growing snack cucumbers at 1.7 hectare. "As long as we do not reach 30 degrees Celsius, there is no problem." He does keep an eye on the weather news.
"Luckily we are little bothered by serious weather here in the west." In the cultivation of snack cucumbers there is a change of cultivation four times a year. With which Koos can harvest all year round. The hot weather results in a somewhat higher production. Koos sells through Best of Four. The extra production is also sold easily. "But I have to put a little extra effort into it sometimes."
The weather is particularly cumbersome for his staff, Koos knows. "My staff is not going to work harder because of the heat, therefore I make sure there is extra staff for harvest, just like in summer. This usually finishes harvest an hour earlier, so the staff can go home earlier."
No lack of light
Jaap Vink of Tuinbouwbedrijf Vink Sion in Beetgum grows bell peppers on 11 hectare. In spite of the high temperatures for the time of year, Jaap does not have a significantly increased production. Jaap: "The grafting has happened six to seven weeks ago, and that mostly determines the production. Maturing is a bit faster now."
In this time of year it is always 'full throttle', Jaap tells. "Bell peppers are not that easily controlled, and compared to cucumbers it is more running and standing still. It is important to make sure that the plants are not hit too hard because of the higher temperatures, so the plants will have a good production at the end of the year."
The temperatures in the north of The Netherlands is in general a bit lower than the rest of the country. In his greenhouses Jaap manages to properly control the temperature. "The temperature is not of all importance. Light is really much more important, and of that we have had plenty. We are trying to cool the greenhouse as well as possible and we screen between 12 hours and 17 hours every day against the sun."
The season started bad for the bell pepper, but now Jaap notices that the prices have been right in the last weeks. "Supply is not extreme right now, while the demand in this time of the year is at its peak."
Publication date: 6/1/2018
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