In Holland, “Asparagus yield per kilo at least 30% lower this year due to waterlogging” by FreshPlaza

“Asparagus yield per kilo at least 30% lower this year due to waterlogging”

Will Teeuwen of Teboza is not one to lament, but it’s clear that this asparagus season presents significant challenges. “It’s not exactly the most enjoyable season. We’ve been battling waterlogging for seven months, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change in the coming weeks. Naturally, we are positive people and we’ll get through this, but such a year does take its toll.”
“The waterlogging has had major consequences for the harvest. This year, we couldn’t even prepare all the fields for harvesting. That has never happened in my career before. Moreover, some fields that were prepared weren’t done under the most ideal conditions, which means they also don’t yield the best quality,” the grower continues.

“Labor has always been a challenging factor, but fortunately, there are still enough people willing to harvest the asparagus. Given the weather conditions, I’m very happy about that. People have had to harvest almost continuously in boots. That’s why we’re organizing a barbecue tomorrow evening to keep morale high,” Will continues.

A cautious estimate is that the kilo yield this season will be at least 30% lower. “Last year, we already had a 15-20% lower yield due to the cold spring, and that was quite a hit, but now the harvest is even lower. This means that the cost of harvesting, which was already significantly higher due to rising labor costs, is soaring even further.”

“It makes quite a difference if you get 150 kilos less per harvest from a hectare. And the reasonably good price formation doesn’t just compensate for the lower yields, although we do fortunately see understanding from the sales side for the challenges we as growers face. I think we’ve still done not too badly in delivering the volumes for both the promotions and the regular weeks, but we had to constantly pull out all the stops.”

“What the effect of this year will be on the 2025 harvest, nobody can say yet, but consequences are inevitable. We dig up plants in each field to monitor plant activity. We see that there has been a massive leaching of fertilizers. So, they need to be reapplied, but we can hardly get into the field.”

A smooth year becomes exceptional
“On the sales side, the challenges are less significant. Demand continues to exceed supply. That will certainly remain the case in the coming years. We know what is being planted in Europe, and it shows a declining rather than increasing trend. An extreme year used to be an exception, now it seems exceptional if things go smoothly. You also see quite a few growers stopping asparagus cultivation.”

Teboza also continues to supply green Spanish asparagus. “The night temperatures in Spain are relatively cool, which allows us to extend the Spanish season somewhat. We had a good season in Spain with high quality and good price formation. The prospects for Spanish cultivation look good for the coming years too. The green asparagus requires significantly less water than, for example, other annual crops, which has allowed us to relatively easily access water and land so far.”

For more information:
Will Teeuwen
Zandberg 14b
5988 NW Helden
Tel: +31 (0) 77 307 1444