Crop Yields Short for Key Processing Vegetables in Europe

On June 15, and again on July 8, the European Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processing Industries (PROFEL) expressed concern about potential crop losses due to exceptionally heavy rainfall during May and June in the main producing countries of northern Europe. The Brussels-based trade association represents over 500 companies in 13 EU countries engaged in frozen, canned and dehydrated vegetable and fruit production.

PROFEL mixed vegRecord precipitation was recorded in Belgium, the UK, France and southeast Holland during June. The cold and wet weather in the early part of the summer, which delayed sowing and slowed crop growth, was followed by extreme heat and drought conditions in July and August. This continued through mid-September, causing crop stress in a number of vegetables.

The combination of two extreme weather patterns in the same growing season in northern Europe has resulted in even lower field yields than predicted back in July. With the harvest of several crops either complete or nearing completion, vegetable growers and processors confirm that the yield losses for a number of crops are profound.

Average reductions in field yields reported in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and the UK have been reported as follows:

  • Peas, -31%
  • Green Beans, -20% to 25%
  • Spinach, -30%
  • Baby Carrots and Parisian Carrots, -37%

The green bean campaign is not yet over, so the indicated 20-25% shortfall is an estimate. This prediction, however, relies on the weather turning more favorable during the second half of September.

In addition to the vegetables listed above, cauliflower, pumpkin, kohlrabi (cabbage turnip), red cabbage, salsify, Brussels sprouts, peppers and kale have also experienced yield reductions, with German summer kale production expected to be short by 25%.

Elsewhere in the east and south of Europe, exceptionally high temperatures, often exceeding 40°C, have led to reduced yields in broccoli, beans, peas and sweet corn.