Chilean Citrus Committee assesses potential frost damage
Following the recent frosts in some parts of Chile, ASOEX pointed out that it is still too early to determine whether fruits or trees have been damaged.
According to a statement by the Chilean Citrus Committee, damage caused by frosts can only be evaluated 10 days after the frost occurs, as factors such as the minimum temperature and length of exposure, as well as the type, variety and degree of maturity of the fruit, must be considered.
Until now, no damage has been recorded, but technical teams and professionals are currently in the fields evaluating potential damage to orchards in areas affected by the frosts.
“In-field damage assessments are being carried out exhaustively in all the orchards at risk, until we can ensure that fruit destined for export is not damaged”, emphasized Monserrat Valenzuela, Manager of the Chilean Citrus Committee.
Frosts can be very localized, so in some fields, there could be just one particular area that was hit. Moreover, frosts don’t affect all areas and citrus orchards in the same way.
“Currently the majority of orchards are located in areas that are more protected from the cold, within valleys and the orchards that are located in more exposed areas, use some kind of frost control system”, Valenzuela assured.
“There has been a change in our citrus farming and producers have changed to crops that are more tolerant to the cold”, she added.
An ‘Action Manual’ created by the Citrus Committee considers both the installation of temperature monitors in orchards, and the temporary suspension of harvests in affected areas, until the fruit is checked to see if it meets the corresponding exportation criteria, as ways of avoiding exporting fruits damaged by low temperatures.
Valenzuela highlighted that “these measures have already been implemented in similar cold spells in past seasons and have produced very good results.”
The Citrus Committee expects to provide more information by mid June, once assessments in affected orchards have come to an end, in order to determine whether adjustments to estimated export volumes should be made.