Growers forecast imminent cauliflower shortage after winter weather destroys Lincolnshire production

Cauliflowers could be in short supply from mid-April

Cauliflowers could be in short supply from mid-April

The UK could be facing a cauliflower shortage from mid-April onwards, warn suppliers, after freezing winter temperatures wiped out domestic yields.

The crop in Lincolnshire – a leading producer area for the UK market – is a “write-off”, according to one grower, who said the area would see no cauliflowers from now until the new season next February.

“At the moment, we’re not seeing much in the way of a cauliflower shortage at retail level, but soon, over the next couple of weeks when the Spanish crop runs out, there will be a lot of pressure for the product. We’ll start to see the real effects of this shortfall from mid-April onwards, and May could be very short,” he said.

Cornwall – another key cauliflower producer area – largely escaped the coldsnaps before and after Christmas, allowing growers there to fill supply gaps created by the Lincolnshire shortfall.

“Our product is fine. We’re maybe seeing 5 per cent damage, but the forecasts are good. We have been able to fulfil our orders and have been covering for some Lincolnshire and Spanish crop affected by freezing temperatures,” a leading South West grower said.

“It has been a very tricky year for brassica growers,” he told FPJ. “What with the weather, energy costs, inflation, and the rising cost of labour. The government visa scheme is helping and has overcome the labour shortage. However, labour now is much more expensive and growers are responsible for paying staff even when they can’t use them [due to weather issues]. Labour accounts for 50 per cent of grower costs.”