Argentina - The weather changed the panorama for cherry

02.12.2021 211 views

The cherry harvest began a couple of weeks ago, and now the Rural Development Institute (IDR) has published the cherry production estimate for this year. Cecilia Fernandez, IDR technician and part of the team that prepared the report, said they estimated a harvest of 4,100 tons of cherries, i.e. 14% lower than the 4,751 tons achieved last year.

"The cherry is very variable, especially because of the frost and Zonda wind in bloom," Fernandez said. Specifically, this year there were frosts at the time of the cherry trees' flowering and that affected them unevenly. The affectation depended on the variety, the area, and the management of the plots, among other factors. At the time of monitoring in October, there were fully loaded trees and others affected by weather contingencies, she stated.

According to Diego Aguilar, the president of the Mendoza Cherry Chamber, climatic problems changed the good outlook for this year. Initially, the harvest was expected to surpass the volume achieved in 2020 given the entry into production of young cherry trees: “ We found less setting than usual, due to the frost and the previous Zonda wind. Zonda winds lower the humidity and dehydrate the area. Thus, the pollen does not find a way to curdle so there is less fruit.”

Aguilar said it was very difficult to estimate the damage caused by the frost because there are affected fruits that manifest the damage at the moment, but other fruits continue to grow for up to 15 days and suddenly fall off. In addition, a natural thinning can occur, by which (in general terms) some fruits die, but the plant enlarges those that are still alive.

“You can see that there is a smaller harvest. We have lower yields. The early fruits suffered the most damage and we don't know what effect this will have on the end of the season. The people north of the Mendoza River are practically finishing their harvest. At most, it will last one more week. They are finishing earlier than usual,” Aguilar stated.

Another question is how this situation could affect the cherry's price in the domestic market, as this fruit is widely consumed in the end of the year holidays. That will depend on the final numbers of the harvest and the season in Patagonia, for which there are good prospects. In addition, since Argentineans consider consuming cherries as a luxury, many people don't purchase them when prices increase.

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