In this column, we give the floor to Wim Waterman. Familiar with all the ins and outs of the onion market, Wim gives a short update on what strikes him in the market. This week Wim talks about the export of the coming second half of the season.
We want to introduce you to operator and manager Henry Dam.
“The input installations of the Waterman Onions sorting lines needed to be replaced,” says Waterman Onions production manager Arjan Dunnewind.
Quality manager Wilco Besuijen and buyer Remko Wilms discuss the onions in storage. It seems that the greener harvesting of onions is becoming more..
Our (Water) men from the expedition, Hessel van Helten and Jasper Meeuwes, look back on an eventful year full of challenges in transport and logistics.
Looking back on the onion growing season of 2021, now that (almost) all onions are off the land, buyers Remko Wilms, Jelmer Elzinga and Harmjan Hospers discuss their thoughts.
In this recurring column, we’ll hear from Wim Waterman. Familiar with all the ins and outs of the onion market, Wim is an excellent candidate to update us about the market. This week Wim’s talking about the harvest of the seed onions in the Netherlands.
The seed onion season is in full swing, and most of the Netherlands’ onions have already been harvested. But Wim sees a few challenges regarding the quality of the onions. “The plant onions specifically had many problems. Therefore, we switched to the seed onions as soon as possible, but we’ve noticed a higher-than-average percentage of losses even there. Bacteria rot is especially bad, often due to hail, extreme rainfall, or mildew because the bacteria need to get through the outer skin. The rot is still in the outer layer of the seed onions, but it will eventually spread into the core while in storage. Unfortunately, they require extra work, but eventually, we’ll be able to offer our customers good quality onions. And it’s a relief to see how the harvest is coming in. If the ground isn’t too hard, the growers can choose the best moment to harvest.”
Wim mentions the need to keep a close eye on the storage. “It’s going to be a long and difficult storage season, and we’ll have to monitor the quality constantly.” Fortunately for Wim, the Waterman purchasing team has recently received reinforcements. “Our buyers can offer growers good advice about storage,” Wim adds that the growers are free to do what they will with the advice. “They also have to start thinking about next seed onion season; which strains do they want to sow, and for what goal?” For advice, growers can contact our buyers personally or online via uienzaadonline.nl.
Wim expects that the export weeks for 2021 won’t beat the 40,000+ tones of 2020. “We could export much more if we had the transportation,” Wim explains that it’s not because of lack of demand. “Africa leads the way, but Asia and Central America are also buying many onions, and those are the main destinations for onion exports. That’s good news too because we had to wait a long time since the second half of last season.”
Would you like to read the full interview with Wim? Read more…
Using a germination test to investigate whether an onion is germicidal
Waterman Onions has been setting up so-called germination tests for its (pool) growers for years. With a germination test, you can quickly investigate whether an onion is susceptible to sprouting. The onion is stimulated to grow ‘further’, so you can soon explore whether an onion is sensitive to germs. It can prevent problems, especially in a difficult growing season.
It is a straightforward procedure: You fill a container with a layer of potting soil (approximately 5 cm). If there is still foliage on the onions, cut this off and place the onion 1/3rd part in the potting soil. Place the container in a warmer place (canteen, corridor with underfloor heating or in the windowsill) and water it occasionally so that the ground remains moist.
You will often notice within three weeks whether the onion is susceptible for sprouting. If that is the case, the onions will root in the potting soil, or a green blade will emerge from the onion. Isn’t this the case? Then you can happily store your onions!
You usually place a germination test around November, but from October till the beginning of January are still possible! Good luck!
In this column, we introduce one of our employees by asking them a few questions about themselves. Why? Because we’re proud of our team! It’s their passion, knowledge and expertise that allows us to deliver onions of the highest possible quality: The Waterman Onion.
In this issue, we’ll introduce Phensri Schouten. The cheerful 47-year-old mother of three has worked at Waterman Onions as a full-time sorter for 16 years. The team has grown and changed a lot over the years, and Phensri says it can be challenging. “The differences in diversity and languages make communication difficult sometimes.” But it’s precisely that challenge that Phensri wants to help. “Showing new colleagues the way and explaining the work so that they can understand it is one of the fun things about working at Waterman.” The other challenge that the sorting team faces is the onions: “It’s exciting to bring the best onions to the customers when the new harvest comes in. The quality of the onions we receive from the grower is what determines the quality we can bring to the customer.”
Phensri doesn’t have trouble combining her hobbies of cycling and running with her work and family. “I alternate between running and cycling.” One day she’ll cycle for 40 to 95 kilometres, and the next, she’ll run between 8 and 17. “I train for long distances at the weekend, but I keep it shorter during the week.” The training has definitely had an effect, as we all saw at the Fish Potato event on 11 September, where she participated in the Waterman 4 Mile run. With a lightning-fast time of 33:10, Phensri can be proud of herself.
When we asked Phensri what areas she would like to grow in, she said: “I have much freedom in my work, so it’s easier for me to share my ideas, and I can see that the changes I suggest are actually implemented. I’d definitely like to do that more often.” Phensri aims to do everything in her power to help new employees get started, and she has a good tip for future colleagues: “If you have an open and helpful attitude, there are plenty of opportunities in the workplace.”
On Monday, 13 September, the Waterman Onions purchasing team was strengthened by the addition of Harmjan Hospers. The 23-year-old from Nagele was born and bred in the agricultural sector. He grew up on his father’s farm, where they grew seed potatoes and onions, carrots, winter wheat and grass seed. That’s where he acquired his enthusiasm for farming. “The harvest is the best time of year when you can finally see the result of a year’s hard work to give your crops the best possible care. Watching the whole plot come out of the ground, that’s the icing on the cake.”
Harmjan became acquainted with the trade side of agriculture during his senior internship at uienhandelonline.com. “What interests me the most is helping growers decide on the best onions for their farm.”
Are you interested in the new season?
Growers can already contact us for onion seeds for the third season via our website, uienzaadonline.nl. Or, if you’d rather have personal contact, buyers Jelmer and Harmjan would be happy to share their advice.
Get to know Harmjan: +31 (6) 30 00 27 12 Hj.Hospers@waterman-onions.nl!