Recent hail may impact next Argentine pome fruit crop -

Recent hail may impact next Argentine pome fruit crop

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Recent hail may impact next Argentine pome fruit crop

With the first pears of the Argentine season due to be harvested later this month, it is still uncertain what effects a recent hail event will have on the crop in the major growing provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén.

At Fresh Fruit Portal we spoke with Argentine Chamber of Integrated Fruit Growers (CAFI) executive director Marcelo Loyarte to find out more about a situation that also has the potential to impact the upcoming apple harvest starting with the earliest varieties in January.

"There was a hailstorm a couple of days ago and a lot of water as well. However, it is too early to know what the impact will be on the quantity of packable fruit," Loyarte said.

"In a lot of places where hail fell the damage being seen is minimal," he said, adding this was currently a period when hail risk was usually high, and as more weather events of this nature had been occurring there had been increased investments in anti-hail nets.

Loyarte expected the picture would be clearer in mid-January.

He mentioned standards set by Argentina's National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA) meant a monitoring system was in place allowing for harvests to start once a certain level of ripeness is reached in the fruit. 

The industry representative said the season would likely running one week later than in the previous season, with apple starting with Royal Galas and harvests continuing through April, while pear harvests would kick off around Christmas time with picking finishing around March. 

"We still don't have production volume estimates yet, although at the start there was concern over less flowering. We don't have certainty as to how much less it will be compared to last year when there was a significant frost," Loyarte said.

He said last year the country reached around 1.2 million metric tons (MT) of pome fruit, and while apples used to be the main crop in the category a lot of producers had switched to pears, making them more or less equal.

"I'd say now we're at 50% apples and 50% pears," he said.

Loyarte said the main varieties exported by Argentina were Williams, Red Blush, Packham's, Anjou, Abate Fetel and Red Bartlett. In terms of apples, the main varieties were Galas, Red Delicious and Cripps Pink (marketed as Pink Lady under the right standards).




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