Poor potato and onion crops

17/10/2006 09:30

According to Statistics Netherlands provisional crop estimates, Dutch potato farmers are expected to lift a total amount of 4.3 billion kilograms of potatoes in 2006. This is 5 percent less than in 2005 and the smallest crop since 1998. Because of the extremely warm temperatures in July and the exceptionally wet weather in August, the crop of usable potatoes will be 3.9 billion kilograms. The seed onion crop will be 16 percent smaller than in 2005, at just over 0.8 billion kilos.

Small potato crop

The yield per hectare of potatoes grown on clay soil will be 41 tonnes in 2006. This is much lower than usual. In the period 2000-2005 the yield fluctuated between 42 and 47 tonnes per hectare. With the losses caused by the weather the net potato yield will be 36 tonnes per hectare.

Yields per hectare of potatoes grown on sandy and peat soil were also lower. This is mainly the consequence of modest growth. In 2006 the yield per hectare is expected to be 40 tonnes. In the period 2000-2005 it varied between 44 and 50 tonnes. The net crop will be 38 tonnes per hectare.

The average yield of potatoes per hectare on clay soil is usually lower than on sandy and peat soil. This is because relatively many seed potatoes are grown on clay, which have a slower weight when lifted than ware potatoes. 

South-west hit hard

Potato farmers in the provinces Zeeland and South Holland in particular have had a poor season. In these two provinces, where many ware potatoes are grown, the yield will be nearly 46 tonnes per hectare. The net crop will be 38 tonnes per hectare. Nearly one third of all seed and ware potatoes are grown in these provinces.

Onion crops substantially smaller

The seed onion crop is expected to come to 823 million kilograms. This is more than 16 percent less than in 2005. The fall is unexpected, as the total cultivation area of onions was nearly 10 percent larger in 2006 than in 2005. The yield per hectare will probably be 45 tonnes in 2006. This is one quarter lower than last year.