The popularity of blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) has been rising worldwide, due to their nutritional bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, anthocyanins and polyphenols. These factors enhance the demand for fresh blueberries in the Czech market, which resulted in an increase of blueberry plantations in the Czech Republic.
One of the hottest summers in Central European history, sorely devoid of rainfall, made this year very difficult for farmers. This year’s drought in central and northern Europe is the worst in recent memory for the region. Prolonged droughts affect agriculture, biodiversity, forestry, energy production, tourism, and of course, the general availability of water resources.
One of the worst droughts in recent Czech history is still tormenting farmers, with rainfalls in October measured at just a fifth of the monthly average. The total cost of damages to Czech agriculture and forestry has been estimated to lie at around CZK 24 billion so far and some farmers say the government is not doing enough about it.
The Czech grain harvest is expected to drop by 7.5 percent on the previous year, hitting an overall yield of 6.345 tonnes, according to preliminary data released by the Czech Statistics Office on Monday. It is third lowest figure over the past ten years. The harvest of poppy seeds will also be affected by this year’s prolonged period of drought, dropping by one fourth on the previous year to 15,000 tonnes.
It has been a struggle for apple growers this season in the Czech Republic. A Czech grower located in the hardest hit region of Moravia, reported as high as 50% losses for this year's crop. Along with being dry, the region saw temperatures dropping to five degrees below zero in the last weeks of April, which proved too much for the traditional fruit. The national Fruit Growers Union has estimated losses of around 400 million crowns this season, country wide.
The intensity and area of occurrence of pest species are strongly determined by the overall climate conditions of a locality and the weather pattern within a given season in combination with other factors (e.g. host plant abundance). While inter-seasonal weather variability and consequent fluctuations of individual pest species are well-known phenomena, changes in overall climate conditions and associated range shifts of particular species have likewise become important areas of research, especially during the last decade.
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