Now that the Dutch open air season has come to an end and the workload in the greenhouses has slowed down it is time look backward and forward.
A look back at 2016 – Another season of extremes.
Eastern Brabant and especially Limburg have had to deal with heavy weather. Several storms with tremendous amounts of rain in June did a lot of damage to several growers. The damage was both direct from the rain itself, and indirect because of slow reactions by local water boards.
Westland wasn’t immune to the summer’s weather either. The extreme heat of the end of May caused a major decline in production. An actual whirlwind in June left a trail of destroyed glass and floods in its wake. Mother nature dealt a further blow in the form of an extreme weather phenomenon that we in The Netherlands have –thankfully– never seen before. On the 23rd of June a supercell with hail the size of tennis balls entered the east of Brabant and the northern edge of Limburg. Total damages from this storm were in the millions and many people were affected by it.
Horticultural areas in the middle- and northern parts of the country were left mostly unaffected. The storm was expected to lead to rising prices for produce, but prices turned out to remain reasonably stable in spite of the extensive damage done to crops.
Import in the Winter season – smooth transition and high quality
The transition from the Dutch domestic- to the import season is mostly over now. This transition took place without noteworthy problems. Supply streams from foreign supplies are at sufficient levels and the quality can be called high.
Future – be mindful of more extreme weather and innovation
It looks like the future will offer more of these extreme weather conditions. Cooperation between the government, water boards, and horticulturalists is desired to best prepare for the future. Looking ahead to 2017 we do not expect major changes in culture or acreage. There are, however, some wonderful small-scale initiatives within the Versland group of horticulturalists, which we will attentively follow.
Ramon Scheepers - Quality Manager & Supervisor Cultivation