Suppliers predict up to 15% shortfall and tell retailers not be fussy Onion growers have warned that large varieties will be in short supply because of poor growing conditions and yields lower than last season. British Onion Producers Association chairman Richard Arudel said lack of sun and disease caused by wet weather took their toll. Most onions were between 50mm and 60mm. Supplies of 60mm-80mm bulbs will be tighter, and anything over 80mm are almost non-existent, he said. Packers are already encouraging customers to reduce minimum size specifications on loose flow. Many predict a "very tight" market by the end of the season. However, the quality of crops in store and harvested before recent wet weather is good although the remainder of the harvest is not expected to make prepack Class 1 skin finish. Poor returns last season reduced planting by 6% this year, to 8,500 hectares. With 85% of the crop harvested, availability could be cut by as much as 15%. Based on yields of around 42 tonnes a hectare, a crop of some 350,000 tonnes is expected which represents a substantial downturn after last year's bumper harvest of 427,000 tonnes when ideal conditions produced 47 tonnes a hectare. Overall, the processing industry will benefit. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}