Analysis Onions

Dutch Onion season seems to be starting somewhat normal

July 5, 2024 - Jurphaas Lugtenburg

The new onion season seems - for a change, you might say - to be starting a bit more calmly. There is certainly confidence among sorters that it will start running. Acting on that now is only a second step.

Perhaps the biggest news in the onion world this week were the acreage figures from CBS. It was expected that there would be a few percent more onions sown. However, an expansion of the total area of seed onions by 12.2% to 32,700 hectares comes as a surprise. The conditions were simply not such that everyone could sow everything that was planned. CBS is based on the May count, which had to be submitted by May 17. It was reasonable to assume that all onions had been sown by then. The area of second-year planting onions has increased by 14% to 6,000 hectares.

Getting the seed or planting material in the ground does not necessarily mean that a good crop will result. A less favorable spot in a field is more the rule than the exception, and some has certainly fallen by the wayside. For a long time, especially the seed onions seemed to be struggling, but now they also seem to be taking off in growth. Record yields do not seem to be on the agenda yet, but the idea that nothing will come of it at all, as some predicted a month ago, is also not true.

Finally, things can go normally for once
The trade in planting onions is still a bit sluggish. Growers are holding out for around €20 or slightly more to deliver onions at the end of July, beginning of August. Sorters are only partially going along with that. It is still difficult to predict which way the market will go. Last season, Senegal entered the market very early and boosted prices for planting onions. An early start to exports to Senegal does not seem to be on the cards now. It is therefore not very likely that prices for field crops will increase significantly in the short term. It is also not very likely, according to insiders, as long as the quality is good, which seems to be the case now. "If we end up at around 18 cents for onions at the farm and we can keep up in the bale with other exporting countries, everyone can earn a good living," said a sorter. 'We are ready for a year in which things proceed more normally,' is a common remark this week.

Old harvest, imports, and new harvest, it's all running together and alongside each other. There isn't a lot of trade going on yet. Most sorters have stopped with the old onions, and with the new ones, it's still very much searching and exploring. For the DCA Listing Bale Price Onions, we take the new Dutch onions as the starting point this week. Prices range roughly from €40 to €45, but the market still needs to take shape.

Read here the explanation from DCA Market Intelligence on the new listings.

Jurphaas Lugtenburg

Jurphaas Lugtenburg is a market specialist in onions, carrots, and commodities such as wheat, corn, and soybeans at DCA Market Intelligence. He combines his degree in business administration with a passion for farming.
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