The UK Cucumber Industry

Supporting the UK Cucumber Industry

Cucumber growing in the UK is concentrated in two geographical areas:

  • The North East of England (especially in the area surrounding Hull in East Yorkshire)
  • The South East of England (just North of London in the Lea Valley in Essex/Hertforshire)
  • The total area of glasshouses cropped with cucumbers is estimated at around 90 hectares.
  • An analysis of CGA membership (covering most UK growers) indicates that 60% of members are located in the South East and account for 36% of the hectarage.
  • 31% of members are in the North East with 61% of the hectarage. The balance are scattered throughout the country.
  • (Nurseries in the South East tend to be smaller, family run businesses while those in the North East tend to be larger concerns – up to 10ha – run by teams of managers and crop supervisors).
  • Cucumbers crops are high value – typically £350,000 per hectare per season. However, this is offset by the high cost of inputs which has reduced profit margins in recent years.
  • There is very little margin to absorb any financial loss resulting from pest or pathogen reduction in crop yield or produce quality. Managers and growers must, therefore, retain very close control of all aspects of production to ensure that costs are minimized and marketable yield is maximized.
  • The cucumber industry, through the CGA, has become more proactive in research and development targeted at improving crop performance and extending the growing season (see AYR project). Growers are also able to take advantage of research undertaken by government sponsored institutes etc which are funded by DEFRA or the HDC.