Higher temperatures quicken Chile blueberry harvest
Temperatures in November resulted in a quicker harvest from the region near Rancagua and south, while the harvest in the northern areas remained slow, but will end soon. In new export estimates, the first export peaks will be in weeks 50 and 52, with about 5,700 metric tons each. January is forecast to be a complicated month with big volumes to export.
The harvest in the region near La Serena is expected to end this week. Volumes from the area near Valparaiso are forecast to prolong the harvest for two more weeks. Temperatures in these regions last week remained similar to last year.
In the area near Santiago, the harvest continues to advance slowly and the peak volume is expected for the end of next week and the beginning of week 50. The estimated end of the harvest is the second week of January. This region shows a slight, positive difference in the number of warmer days compared with 2009, which has not been enough to quicken the maturation of the fruit. By contrast, the region surrounding Rancagua has had warmer temperatures compared to last year since week 44. This quickened the maturation of the fruit, concentrating the harvest in weeks 46 and 47. The harvest period is expected to be shorter than initially estimated. For the next week, the harvest is expected to surpass 2,000 metric tons in this region.
In the region near Talca, the harvest peak was expected in week 46 and 47, based on warmer temperatures. Currently the harvest has begun in all areas and is expected to surpass 2,000 MT in week 52.
In the region near Concepción, rising temperatures caused the acceleration of development in all plants, so the season is two weeks earlier than the initial estimate. The current harvest is concentrated on early varieties O’Neal and Duke. Depending on the site, the O’Neal progress is between 50% and 60% finished and the later areas are 10% complete. The quality of the fruit is good, and although labor is not a problem yet, from week 51 there could be problems with availability that would affect the condition of the fruit.
From Temuco and south, the season is expected to be two weeks early. All of December should post limited volumes. Volumes of more than 200 MT are expected to start in the second week of January.
Source: Chile Blueberry Committee/www.freshfruitportal.com