Frost damage hits late season Chilean blueberries
Update: the Chilean Blueberry Committee has released its estimates for the losses. Click here to find out more.
The committee said the most affected areas were from Teodoro Schmidt to Freire in the IX (Araucanía) region.
California Giant Berries South America manager Nader Musleh, told www.freshfruitportal.com the amount of damage to his company’s producers depended on the area, with some growers losing 80% of their crop while others lost 10%.
“These were black frosts, meaning there was no ice, and the truth is it’s complicated. A lot of people have lost a lot of fruit, especially especially those who don’t have frost control,” he said.
“All this volume though is much later for Chile. There’s no impact now – the impact will be for fruit sent to the United States in February and March.”
Alpine Chile agricultural manager for the IX and X (Los Rios) regions, Alejandra Canuillan Tapia, told www.freshfruitportal.com the most affected orchards were between Mafil and San Jose de la Mariquina, as well as in Freire Gorvea.
“This will lower the volume of exportable kilograms because the fruit has significant damages from the frost,” she said.
“There are orchards that have between 10% and 70% or 80% losses in the fruit. It affected early, intermediate and late varieties, but it depends on the case of the orchard.
“Here we export from December to March with the last varieties, so it’s a considerable damage for all varieties and will affect our whole season here.”
She said there wasn’t much growers could do to recover the lost fruit, but they could conduct recovery work so that plants were in better shape for next year.
“A frost is a tremendous stress on the plant, and so we are doing things like applying amino to the plants, giving stimulants so they can support the stress they’ve suffered, and so that next year they’re in good condition.”