UK onion crop sliced by a quarter as heatwave takes its toll

PUBLISHED: 16:27 25 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:27 25 July 2018

Windrowing onions amid the dust at P G Rix (Farms) Ltd in the Stour Valley on July 20, 2018 Picture: SAM RIX

Windrowing onions amid the dust at P G Rix (Farms) Ltd in the Stour Valley on July 20, 2018 Picture: SAM RIX

Sam Rix

The British onion harvest is likely to be down by a quarter as the effects of the heatwave take their toll, an industry body believes.

British Onions chairman Tim Elcombe thinks both quantity and size have been affected.

“The warm weather in May was welcome allowing the onions to catch up following the late drilling and planting which resulted from the wet spring,” he said.

“However, the hot weather we have experienced in June and July have put the onion crop under considerable stress affecting both yield and bulb size.

“Growers and their staff have been working round the clock to keep crops irrigated, however there are a number of areas of the country where water abstraction is being limited and their own reserves are very low.

“Crops are irrigated at this time of year to put on weight and size. Irrigation is currently just keeping the plant alive - crops without irrigation are dying.

“Although there is still some way to grow for most crops, the reduced yield potential for most is already apparent. Most crops are going to suffer from a lack of large onions, which will have an impact on availability of the 3 in line pack formats which are sold in most retailers.”

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