The Spanish county of El Bierzo closed the 2018 season with a recovery of its apple and pear productive potential, but now the sector is once again threatened by the weather. The temperature swings, with summer heat in February and winter-like rains and frosts in April, are putting the region's top fruits in serious trouble.
On September 11th, 2016, a severe hailstorm hit Yangxin county, located in Binzhou, Shandong province. This hailstorm lasted around 30 minutes, and the pellets were as big as a one Yuan coin and four or five centimetres in thickness. As a consequence, over 6,500 hectares of pear plantation orchards from Jinyang office in Yangxin county were severely impacted. Over 90% of pears were damaged in various degrees, as it occurred during the harvest season for pears.
Even though there hasn't been an assessment from Agroseguro, it's safe to say that the hailstorm that hit Maluenda, Paracuellos, and Miedes, in the region of Calatayud, on Monday virtually destroyed 100% of the pear and apple harvest. According to Francisco Ponce, a member of the Regional Executive of UAGA, some farmers have already reported the loss of their entire apple and pear crops, which also have lost their leaves. The weight of the hail also caused damage to the anti-hail nets that protected the trees on some farms. On Tuesday morning, Ponce said, the nets still had remnants of hail.
Victoria Police are on the hunt for a fruit-napper who stole five tonnes of beurre bosc pears from a property near Portland, in the state's south-west. The culprit allegedly tore down five rows of orchards, almost half-a-kilometre long, from the Gorae property between March 18 and 20. It is not yet known how the thief moved the fruits of their labour without detection, but they are understood to have accessed the property via a side gate. A police spokesperson said the thief's motives were unknown, but they were believed to be "pearfessionals".
The hail highly affected a large part of the Upper Valley. A few days before the harvest started, most of the apple, pear, and peach production was lost in some farms. This time, the most affected was an area in Roca. The storm damaged part of the crop of small landholders in the Middle Valley. The phenomenon only lasted 18 minutes. It also caused fallen trees and power outages. The unexpected storm, which took place on Tuesday night, mercilessly hit a large portion of producers of this city. The hail fell along an extensive area from the sector of JJ Gomez to the river covering a good part of the local ejido.
In a devastating blow to Victorian pear growers, another hail storm hit the Goulburn Valley on 12 November 2015, further damaging orchards. Fruit Growers Victoria (FGV) ran a meeting following the previous hailstorm to share useful information on how to manage affected orchards. For more information on this and on APAL’s planned ‘Hailstorm Heroes’ marketing campaign see Hope and help for growers affected by hail.
Up to 10% of the Goulburn Valley's pear crop may have been lost in the hail storm last week that tore through Ardoma and north Shepparton. It is estimated that around 16,000 tonnes of pears could be lost. One of the hardest hit areas was in North Shepparton where 53% of pears were lost and 49% of apricots. Fruit Growers Victoria statistics revealed that from 8 affected growers, about 76% of stone fruit were damaged and 65% of pears.
Up to 90% of Australia’s Goulburn Valley pear crop, and 40% of the apple crop may have been affected by this week’s highly localized hail event in Victoria, but more assessment will be carried out in the next five weeks to determine how much of the budding fruit, due to hit stores in January, might be affected. We need to wait to see the full extent of the damage, - says Industry Development Officer for Fruit Growers Victoria, who chaired the meeting, which included state parliamentarians, and representatives from peak industry bodies.
Interbranch Organisation Pera has carried out an estimate of the damage caused by the terrible hailstorm that hit the leading pear producing areas in Ferrara and Modena on 5 September 2015. The storm was particularly strong north of Modena towards Mantua and north-east of Ferrara. In marketing terms, we are talking about a loss of over €40 million.
The President of the Agricultural Council Poblano (Ceagro), stated that, so far this year, a total of 10,000 hectares of apple trees, peach, plums and pears were affected by hail and delayed heavy rains; a situation that will result in problems for producers. The President emphasized that the low production will affect cider producers, suppliers of companies engaged in the production of juices, and small producers who won't achieve the harvest they expected next year.
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