A Chilean fruit industry consultancy expects the country will have 17% fewer cherries to export as a result of rains over the weekend, down from an initial estimate of 20.1 million boxes. In a recent report, Decofrut said growers were applying preventative fungicides across all fruit crops, but cherries were the standout when it came to damages. The group’s variety-by-variety forecast is roughly in line with an announcement from the Chilean Fruit Producers Federation (Fedefruta), which guessed the crop would be down by at least 15%.
Decofrut’s information department said evaluations continued in the wake of the weather event that occurred on Nov. 29-30, sparking expectations that 3.5 million boxes of fruit would be out of the picture.
“Cherries were the most affected species from the weather event, whose incidence was variable according to the amount of rainfall and the duration of rain, as well as the varieties and phenological states of the fruit,” Decofrut said.
“The variety Santina, which was in the final stage of harvest, was the hardest hit, losing a large part of the fruit that remained to be harvested.
“According to data on the national industry compiled by Decofrut, there were fields that lost up to 50% of the fruit that was left to be harvested. This species is highly sensitive and has a significant risk of fruit parting in an event like this.”
In terms of other varieties, the country’s leading cultivar Bing was showing damages of between 20-80% as harvests got underway, but other varieties were better placed.
“In the case of Lapins, a variety that is also being harvested currently, the damage will be less at between 10-20% in some fields; the same damage percentage registered for the varieties Rainier and Sweetheart,” Decofrut said.
“Finally, later varieties like Cordia and Regina did not present significant damages as a consequence of last weekend’s rains.”
Decofrut emphasized that weekly shipments would now be lower for cherries, highlighting that rigorous selection would be essential in packhouses to ensure international quality and condition standards were met.