A violent hailstorm that hit the Bordeaux wine region last Friday has caused severe damage, with several hundred hectares of vines nearly destroyed, notably in the famous Saint-Emilion region, the local chamber of agriculture said. This comes at a time when French wine makers are already suffering from a slowdown in consumption due to the closure of restaurants and bars worldwide in a bid to contain the new coronavirus, as well as from lower exports caused by extra U.S. tariffs on French wine since late last year.
Late in the afternoon of April 17, a wave of thunderstorms hit the Bordeaux region, pummeling vineyards in the Entre-Deux-Mers and the Right Bank with hail. In some areas, within minutes nearly all the developing buds were damaged, meaning a small harvest this year. The worst was the first thunderstorm.
French farmers again made little progress in spring barley sowing last week, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed, as heavy rain continued to drench fields in the European Union's biggest grain producer. Spring barley sowing was 34% complete by Monday, up only marginally from 33% a week earlier and 32% two weeks ago, FranceAgriMer's cereal crop data showed.
Climatic changes such as an increase in air temperature and rainfall variability can directly and/or indirectly affect pathogens and the plant diseases they are causing. All important life cycle stages of fungal pathogens are more or less directly influenced by the prevailing environmental conditions.
Just as in he previous season, this year seems to be a good year for lettuce producers. “There is a very good flow for all species: lettuce, batavia, oak leaves but also chicory (curly/escarole),” explains Olivier Barlaguet of the cooperative group Saveurs des Clos. “Prices have been good since November. Our clients are selling lettuce at around 70 euro cents [0.78 USD] a head.”
This week’s weather around the Mediterranean caused a lot of damage in the south of France; the French government has declared a state of natural disaster. In Béziers, 6 gallons per square feet fell in 24h. Other municipalities in France and in Spain were also severely affected. The episode inevitably has consequences for the fruit and vegetable sector.
Hail storms in the Rhône area in France have caused significant damage to apricots. This is according to Theo Kampschoer of Kampexport. "We had a lot of bad weather about ten days ago. I heard of a walnut farmer in the area who had thousands of his trees blown over. They were thick, 40-year-old trees," Theo says.
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