72-year-old Ghulam Mohammad of Pahnoo, Shopian, while supervising the pruning of his damaged orchard could not recall if he had ever seen such a devastation in November that he saw this year due to early snowfall. For Mohammad and thousands of other apple growers in Kashmir southern villages, the year 2018 was like a “monster that devoured the orchards sprawling over thousands of hectares”.
Due to the persistent rainfall during the current season, kaki producers have been forced to start the harvest at least a week earlier. The harvest of Rojo Brillante kakis in Spain's main producing areas will consequently be finished in ten or twelve days. According to Pascual Prats, president of the Spanish Kaki Association, this has generally not taken a toll on the quality of the fruit.
Drought, hailstorms and high winds are just some of the challenges Australia's stone fruit growers have had to battle this season. Stone fruit grower Michael Trautwein grows the full range of stone fruit on their 80-hectare orchards in the Riverland, South Australia, and said high winds caused severe damage to apricots and wind rub on nectarines and peaches.
Following the heavy rain in the region last week, some Teviot Valley orchardists are reporting damage to about half of their early ripening cherry crop. Some market gardeners will have to freeze their early strawberries, rather than sell them fresh, because of rain damage. The heavy rain also caused ripe cherries to split, making them unsuitable for selling.
Two weeks after a severe hailstorm that affected horticultural production in numerous regions of Chile, associations representing blueberry, table grape, cherry and kiwifruit growers have released initial impact assessments. Unusually large hailstones, heavy rain, and strong winds hit the country’s central-southern regions on Nov. 12, just as the harvests for the summer export season were getting underway.
Fruit grower Bruce Hollabaugh is ready to turn the page on 2018. It started in early August with what he describes as the worst hail storm to ever hit his family's farm in Biglerville, Pa. "Because of its timing, in 10 minutes the storm reduced our peach crop by 75%, small fruits by 50% to 60%, pears by 50% and apples by about 35%," says Hollabaugh, the farm's production and field personnel manager.
Scores of fruit growers and traders from south Kashmir staged a massive protest, demanding implementation of crop insurance and adequate compensation to farmers affected by the recent snowfall that inflicted heavy damage on apple orchards. Untimely snowfall on November 3 and 4 has not only destroyed hanging fruits, but also damaged apple trees in orchards across Shopian.
Fruit flies are one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests and pose risks to most commercial fruit and vegetable crops. This has major implications for the sustainable production and market access of Australia’s multi-billion-dollar horticultural industry. Worldwide there are over 4,000 species of fruit flies in the family Tephritidae of which around 350 species are of economic importance.
"We finished the mangoes of Israel and Mexico much earlier than other years. Spain and Brazil are not ready to fill the gap yet,” says Guy Lesvenan of Miles Import. "The situation is therefore tense at the level of supply, but prices are good." Miles Import has developed a wide range of exotic fruits. The ready-to-eat mango is one of its flagship products.
Experts say that the 2018 heatwave is leading to the best and earliest harvest of late summer crops such as apples, plums, grapes, tomatoes and even olives, in years. The Royal Horticultural Society said it was expecting its best ever late summer apple crop at its gardens at Wisley, in Surrey. Bumper crops of many late summer fruit and berries are the result of the cold weather earlier in the year holding back blossom, which when it flowered did not suffer from any late frosts.
Small-scale producers in southern Portugal are currently affected by extreme forest fires and the damage these cause. In the Monchique Mountains -the so-called 'lungs of the Algarve'- whole orchards and vegetable fields have burnt down and an area of about 24,000 hectares (or 33,000 football fields) was damaged.
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