Ludo Rosseels is one of the last Belgian peach growers. Frost, once again, hit his trees. And then the rain came. "I've lost almost the entire harvest. I estimate the yield is only ten percent of what it should be," says Ludo. Peaches bloom up to a month earlier than apples and pears. That makes them especially vulnerable to frost.
Growers and University of Florida scientists are always concerned about flooding, as this can damage peach trees permanently and cause them to die. For instance: as a result of Hurricane Irma in 2017, a few hundred acres of Florida peaches were lost due to flooding. Flooding poses an issue for all crops, not just peaches. Beyond Florida, 20 million acres of farmland suffered losses nationwide due to floods in 2019.
A team of researchers from the Center for Research in Agrigenomics (CRAG) and the Institute for Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) has identified the powdery mildew resistance gene in peach trees. This disease, caused by the fungus Podosphaera pannosa, causes great financial losses to producers and generates a notable environmental impact due to the fungicides necessary for its control.
In order to increase the presence of parasitoids (insects that lay an egg inside the pest, causing its death) and the natural predators of the peach aphid, a series of pilot tests has been planned at the facilities of the company Grupo Ametller Origen, Agrícola Maresme SXXI. Thus, covers made with selected plants will be used to facilitate biological control and reduce the use of phytosanitary products.
Global peach and nectarine production is expected to decline by 1,1 million tons to 21 million tons. Adverse weather conditions are affecting production in China and the European Union. These are the largest producers of these fruits. That means reduced global supplies, which, in turn, will shrink world trade.
In Europe, 2020 Peach and nectarine yields are expected to decline by 15%, compared to 2019. The main stone fruit growing countries in the EU expect 3.4 million tons of these fruits. This expected decline is due to the unfavorable spring weather conditions. There's also a continued decrease in planted acreage. According to the forecast, the planted area should fall to 216,550 ha this year.
In an already trying year, Colorado peach farmers watched this summer as crop yields swung wildly between 0 and 100%. For consumers around the state, that meant less of a precious summer commodity — the Palisade peach — but more fruits filling in from the state’s other peach-growing parts. You can still find Palisade peaches, too, if you know where to look.
When a deep freeze struck local peach orchards this April, growers could only guess how bad the damage might be. Now that harvest season is under way, it’s become clear that their generally pessimistic early outlook was well-warranted. “I don’t know of any producer that wasn’t affected severely,” said Corey Hicks, county executive director for the federal Farm Services Agency Mesa County office.
Dozens of people stood in line at Sunflower Orchards’ booth at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market, waiting to buy peaches and blackberries. But those who didn’t get in line early enough Saturday morning lost their chance for the peaches. Sunflower Orchards lost about half of its crop, owner Lance Hall said.
"The drupaceous fruit campaign in the areas of central Sicily is not encouraging," said Dario Brucculeri, an agricultural entrepreneur from Castrofilippo (AG), who also added: “While the peaches, due to the weather conditions, suffered from fruit set problems, there are no better results for the cherries, either in terms of production quality, or in terms of trade. At least not for our company."
Colorado’s governor has announced he is seeking federal aid for farmers impacted by a freeze that wiped out significant portions of the state’s peach crop. The emergency declaration enables farms to access assistance including loans with flexible repayment terms. Peaches account for 75% of state fruit production with nearly $40 million in revenue.
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