Chile: Low chill hour accumulation could impact citrus quality for coming season
Julio Cornejo, a citrus consultant with Agroconsultores, told Fresh Fruit Portal there had been less accumulation of cold hours this growing season.
"The growing stage is a little more challenging than in other years and citrus fruits like oranges and mandarins might have lower Brix levels this season," he said.
"It is likely the lemons won't be so affected, but with oranges, mandarins, and clementines we might see lower quality fruit due to the lower accumulation of cold hours, which could also cause some problems in terms of getting the fruit to color."
However, Cornejo explained that these factors can be minimized with adequate farm management prior to harvest.
"If I am sure to irrigate adequately and not over fertilize, these abnormal climatic conditions probably won't affect the trees that much," he said.
In the areas with more coastal and cold climates there have been...production losses due to these low temperatures. This situation is most common in the fourth and fifth regions."
On a separate note, the consultant said that mandarin production should end up around one-third higher year-on-year, adding that lemon exports would likely begin from mid-April.
"The clementine export season should begin int he first week of May and for oranges between the end of May and the beginning of July. For the W. Murcott variety the season should begin at the end of August," he said.