Present returns making production unsustainable Poor prices have led to a reduced crop this season, reports the Leek Growers' Association which represents 80% of British producers and prepackers. With a crop area estimated at 16% smaller and lower yields which are broadly in line, it has already been predicted that the pre-Christmas supply period will be light although there have been no quality problems. Longer term, with sizes variable due to poor stands after late drilling, there could be a shortfall in the New Year. It is unlikely that imports can fill the gap as similar conditions prevail in Holland, Belgium and France. But in spite of any reduction which should lead to improved prices, the asssociation is still concerned that present returns are making the crop unsustainable. Harvesting costs per kilo are 15% higher than last season with overall production costs adding a further 12%. The consensus among members is that the pre-Christmas price must exceed 92p/kilo delivered to supermarkets to cover costs. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}