Spanish citrus growers have requested government aid after storms sent a blow to late-season crops.
Hail damage to New Zealand kiwi production limited
During early November, three kiwifruit-growing regions in New Zealand were struck by hail, Although it was feared that the hail may have adversely affected the kiwifruit growing season, the damage to the country’s largest horticultural export should be limited, according to Oliver Broad of Zespri.
“We expect the loss to be less than 1%, so not a significant loss of the total crop. According to many growers, hail at this time of year is unusual, so it did come as a surprise. For green kiwifruit in particular we are pre-fruit set, so we don’t have fruit on the vine yet, so where there has been an impact it is due to buds being knocked off, or damage to the leaf cover.
“The two main regions affected were Nelson and the Bay of Plenty, in the Tauranga and Welcome Bay areas. We’ve had notifications from growers that 110 orchards were affected by the hail damage. Whilst this can be significant for the individuals, we don’t expect significant impact on a national scale. The hail insurance scheme we have for Zespri has however kicked into place for our growers and we are working through that now.
“The rest of the season so far has been good, and we are looking forward to a December estimate, which will give us a more accurate forecast of production volumes. In the large scheme of things, as a company, we are expecting to increase our production this year, and to continue to do so with significant volumes over the next few years, especially with Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit.
“The total supply from Zespri during 2014 was over 90 million trays of kiwifruit, and the outlook for this season is to the tune of 100 million trays, with strong increases in volume over the coming years.
The main driver of our volume growth is the increase in supply of gold kiwifruit, which will reach around 30 million trays in 2015 and over 50 million trays by 2018.”
Following the hail storms which occurred in the Orange River Region and in the Saron/Halfmanshof area (part of the Berg River Region) last Monday, SATGI estimated losses in the Orange River Region of approximately 1 million 4.5 kg equivalent cartons. The volume affected in the Saron/Halfmanshof area is approximately 1.2 million 4.5kg equivalent cartons. It should however be noted that the final impact of hail damage will only be known once all product has been packed.
The vines were in the early growth phase, with the early varieties being at ±10 days prior to flowering, whilst the late varieties are ±4 weeks prior to flowering. Shoot lengths vary from 15cm (late varieties) to 40cm (early varieties). The normal start of the harvest period in this specific area is approximately Week 51/52.
The whole affected area covers approximately 600 ha in Saron/Halfmanshof. Although the hail damage differs from farm to farm, early assessments indicate that up to 1,200 000 million equivalent cartons were lost out of the ±2 500 000 million equivalent cartons packed annually in this area (almost 50% of production).
It should however be noted that the final impact of hail damage is only known once all product has been packed, as the visual damage on the vine differs considerably from the visual damage seen at maturity. Since this damage occurred prior to flowering, the small whole bunches that still looks fine now, may be lost in the next few weeks as a result of the stress the vine has now been exposed to (whole shoots were knocked off some vines).
The South African table grape industry anticipates a good 2014/15 packing season. In general, bud break and vine development were excellent over the last couple of months in all areas due to good chilling accumulation in winter. The excellent winter conditions also bode well for a good crop volume and quality for the season ahead.
Recent hailstorms have put a €52.5 million dent in eastern Spanish citrus, grape and persimmon farms.
Just as the Indian grape season was well on track to be a good export year, with volumes expected to be well up on last year, the region of Maharashtra was struck by unseasonal hailstorms which affected mangoes and pomegranates as well as the grape production. The area has also been affected by heavy rain in the past two weeks.
The hailstorms caused most damage in Sangli and will affect the volumes and duration of the grape season which is mid-harvest at the moment. Volumes up till now had been on par with last year, with increasing volumes of black seedless.
The damage to crops in the region is so huge that the team of experts will be visiting the affected areas.
The total damage to crops is being pegged at almost 120% as according to experts with the state agriculture department.
Hail may have damaged up to 50% of blueberry crops in Argentina’s Concordia region.