Faced with the consequences of the frost episode that severely affected French farms last April, producers are organizing themselves to cope. According to the PDO Peaches and Apricots of France, the apricot orchards were the most affected by the frost. Some producers in the Rhône-Alpes region have reported losses of 80%.
Some Ottawa area farmers say there will be no bouncing back from a recent frost that has wiped out large portions of their crops. Ann Marie Rochon and her husband own Rochon Garden in the city's rural southeast end, where they grow a variety of produce, including strawberries which are their "biggest sellers."
The Keep in Touch rainproof system has proved to be effective at a distance of 10 meters, saving the production of kiwi fruit, while all was lost under the conventional plastic dome cover when temperatures dropped to 6°C below zero. The results are here described by Mario Tonioni, technical manager of the Keep in Touch systems offered by the company Boscato Reti.
"Between mid-March and mid-April, in Agro di Faenza (RA) in Emilia Romagna, temperatures were harsh for twenty days in a row. This hasn't happened in decades and many orchards have been ruined, except ours," said Massimo Fiorentini of Firleo. "We purchased AID fans in 2003, which, over time and on different occasions, have allowed us to save our harvests.
The frost in April compromised good part of the productions in Italy. Luca Canonici, president of BIOP, illustrates the damage in its production areas located all over Italy and talks about the tools to be implemented against future damage. "The frost was heavy and was accompanied by an abnormal spring.
Climate change is mostly responsible for the increased damage caused by frost, just consider the recent cold fronts that have affected Spain first, then central and northern Italy leading to losses of up to 60% of fruit productions. Extreme weather events will be more frequent in the future, leading to early blossoming followed by brief precipitations.
After the frosts recorded in the first ten days of April, the Basilicata region has released its first conclusions. "For the next stone fruit campaign, we will have from 25 to 40% less regional product. If on the one hand there are farmers who have seen their production reduced to zero, on the other hand, there are those who have lost only 20%.
The cherry harvest in the Gard department should have been starting in the coming days, but the recent frost has destroyed nearly 80% of the harvest. Guillaume Galoppini, producer in Bellegarde, does not know yet if he qualifies for the aid announced last Saturday. “It makes me want to quit completely.”
In Corsica, the kiwi crops have not been spared by the cold. For Pascal Fazi, who has been growing nearly 5 hectares of kiwis since 2015, the frost has caused significant damage. Kiwis normally like the cold, but the young shoots are literally burned. “The more rustic kiwi fruit can withstand very cold, even negative temperatures when it is winter.
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