Wet weather hinders potato lifting for new Dutch writer Sander Kok

Greetings from a wet Holland. The last month we have been dealing with a lot of rain, not particularly in terms of quantity, but in terms of frequency. Harvesting conditions are getting worse and worse. Everybody knows that lifting potatoes in the rain is never complete, when the rain stops it’s harvesting time again.

However, lifting onions is even more difficult in the rain. It takes a lot of patience and nerves of steel if your crops are still out on the field and the weather is poor. I don’t know about the UK weather forecasts, but the Dutch ones are not always reliable. They don’t seem to be able to even predict the weather for tomorrow.

Although many farmers in my area managed to collect and bring in their onions in the last week of the drier spell, a few were harvested while still pretty green. This means we will need to use a lot more propane to dry them off – perhaps I should have bought some propane shares.

We don’t just need more gas, we also need some luck. I read in a magazine recently that about half the Dutch onion crop is still out in the field.

The nerves don’t just come from harvesting, but also selling them as many are sold on a “just in time” basis. But to try and cover my costs, I forward sold one-third of my brown onions. Maybe it’s a bit early, but who knows when is the right moment to sell? In the end, we will know which approach was the best, but that’s with the benefit of hindsight.

Sander Kok manages 100ha of arable land near Rutten, the Netherlands, along with his father and uncle. Seed potatoes is the main crop, together with brown onions, chicory, sugar beet and wheat

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