Forecasting the weather, forecasting productivity

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Rush Group keeps in close contact with all the crops they are involved with, and this involvement includes monitoring the weather around the world, and using their product knowledge to measure the impact of these findings. It is this expertise that allows the Group to assess the effects of weather conditions on productivity and then take the appropriate steps to ensure that their customers are kept supplied with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Rush Group’s widespread network of worldwide experts, including farmers and Rush Group’s agronomists give them good first-hand ground knowledge. This climate intelligence along with their own personal and professional experience, such as a Director with a PhD in potato agronomy is then used to understand the weather patterns and how they might impact on the performance of a crop.

For example, in the spring/early summer of 2013, there was heavy flooding in Poland and Germany, which in turn was followed by a very dry spell, the combination of which had major impacts on crop productivity. Crops which were already in the ground were waterlogged. Equally, due to the compaction of the soil, the roots of any crops that were subsequently planted were very shallow, resulting in reduced size and yield. Rush Group’s agricultural and climate expertise flagged up this issue in advance of harvest, allowing the Group to plan contracts of potatoes and other crops with farmers from different areas of Europe, where yields were greater, quality was more assured and the prices were lower.

The weather can also have real implications on logistics. While some products (for example, cauliflower and broccoli) always require refrigerated transport, others (such as potatoes) are generally tolerant (over a short period of time) of ambient conditions in an unrefrigerated trailer. However, choice of vehicle-type for the transport of potatoes becomes important during periods of extreme high or low temperature. Also, there are periods of road closure during the thaw after severe sub-zero conditions in some parts of Europe (in order to protect the integrity of the roads), and logistics must be planned carefully to avoid disruption to supply programmes. The Rush team keeps a constant check on road conditions throughout their customer and grower territories and plans and re-routes shipments if the weather conditions demand it.

Seasons and weather also have considerable impact on a country’s eating habits. For example, the demand for baking potatoes generally increases in winter and the demand for salad potatoes increases in summer. Rush Group’s comprehensive grower base and product knowledge means that they can react quickly and efficiently to sudden variations in product demand, ensuring that their customers get the quantity and quality of fresh produce they require.

If you are looking for a consistent supply of potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, onions, cauliflowers, broccoli and apples, whatever the weather, please contact Rush Group today.