Every year, the worldwide wine industry suffers losses of more than $10 billion due to extreme weather events and natural disasters such as frost, hail, drought and forest fires. Scientists investigated the extent to which 7,500 wine regions in 131 countries are affected by these events and how climate change affects the wine industry. They've release a global risk index map for wine regions, and found that the wine regions of Mendoza and San Juan in Argentina are exposed to the highest risks worldwide.
Not a very happy Easter for the fresh produce sector. After months of drought and temperatures above the seasonal average, a heavy storm damaged a wide area between the Veneto and the Marche regions. Damage has been reported from Chioggia to Pesaro passing through Bologna, Ravenna and Cesena. Hail and wind but, most of all, heavy rain, damaged both fruit (mainly apricots and strawberries) and vegetables such as radicchio, spinach and onions.
There have been at least four serious fires started by headers in Victoria this year, with increased harvesting of legumes such as lentils and chick peas, which are more flammable than cereal crops. In NSW, fire authorities have reported an increase in fire damage from header fires, including a fire at West Wyalong, which burnt 7000ha and caused $500,000 in crop losses. Only two weeks into harvest in the Great Southern, Western Australia, the Wagin shire has experienced six fires, four of which were started through a header.
Outside Tzaneen in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, a severe wind storm swept through banana and avocado orchards late in the afternoon on Wednesday 25 January, laying waste to large parts of banana orchards and snapping tall eucalyptus trees. Wind speeds reached 37 knots (69km/h). Trees that had escaped the wind, were then pounded by a hail storm.
At the moment, Sicily seems to be the region least affected by the bad weather that hit the Italian peninsula recently, especially since an improvement is expected. Locally, however, there are indeed a few problems. Some damage was registered between 6th and 7th January 2017 in the Licata and Ispica areas, as polytunnels, which have no other thermal protection other than films, were not enough to protect courgettes from frost.
After the heavy rain in Spain last month, the supply of outdoor vegetables is limited. “We are located in the Tarragona region, and we have had no water problems here, but all of the vegetables were flooded in the area from Cartagena to Murcia. I expect that there will be major problems in the long run, when the young plants come into production,” says Rien Paans from Verfru Europe.
In recent days, an enormous amount of snow fell in the Italian grape region of Puglia. Preliminary estimates report that over 300 hectares of grape plantations were lost because constructions and plants collapsed under the weight of the snow. Lucien de Wit from Luba Fresh sent us the following photos:
The cold front that hit Italy, and southern Italy in particular (mainly Puglia and Basilicata and Calabria and Campania to a lesser extent), was extremely abnormal and unexpected. Temperatures dropped to -8°C. According to Coldiretti Puglia, the worst situation was registered in the Taranto and Foggia areas, were farmers had to use their own equipment to clean the roads in order to reach their crops.
Farmers in Queensland's Mary Valley are reporting total crop losses after the region was battered by a series of violent storms since Wednesday that brought hail stones the size of tennis balls. Imbil passionfruit and avocado growers Rob and Cecily Price said they had lost $500,000 in fruit after being hit by three hail storms in three days.
20th May 2016 will be remembered for the huge hailstorm that hit Apulia, as if growers didn't have to deal with climate change already. The hailstorm hit the northern Bari area, while in Turi, well-known for the Ferrovia variety, there were heavy rains mixed with hail stones. The rest of the region (south of Bari, Taranto and Foggia) was hit by heavy rain. The first Facebook comments right after the event read "A disaster for cherries!", "We are worried for all crops", "May shouldn't be like this, what happened to the seasons?".
Exceptional bad weather hit Apulia in the past 48 hours with terrible effects on early cherries. Unfortunately, we must report that delicate early cherries such as the Bigarreay and Giorgia varieties, which had already produced only limited volumes, did not survive two and a half days of rain. In these cases, in fact, humidity leads to cracking. In addition, 7°C temperature drops meant trees experienced a thermal shock that burned many flowers and led to shorter stalks.
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