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Hail and snow damage cucumber cultivation in Motril

A heavy hail and snow shower last Saturday morning has badly damaged cucumber greenhouses in Motril, Spain. "No companies were completely destroyed in the shower, but a lot of snow and hail got inside. The film tore off and at the lowest point snow fell inside. The question now is how will the plants hold up," said Cees Ammerlaan, who visited the area last week for Nunhems.  

Snow in cucumber greenhouses in Motril

Hail in cucumber greenhouses in Motril

When Cees Ammerlaan left for Spain the weather was still good, but Saturday morning it hailed and snowed in Motril, Spain. The region is renown for its acres of cucumber greenhouses. Over 1000 hectares are grown annually. Ammerlaan: "Cultivation of cucumbers is less intensive than in The Netherlands. Many cucumbers hang on the plant and they look wonderful but it is slow. Proportionally few come from the plants. In the Netherlands this is seen much less but cultivation is a lot faster."

Many cucumbers, but few cucumber plants

Growers looking around

How much damage there is exactly or whether it just means a dip in production for Motril, in still uncertain. "The same thing happened in Almeria just a few weeks ago and apart from a few greenhouses still being down, less than half a percent of the acreage was badly affected. The rest are up and running and the cucumbers continued growing. Even the growers in Almeria were surprised how easy it was to recover." Does that have to do with the general improvement in cultivation? "You cannot really protect yourself against these types of circumstances," explained Ammerlaan. "What you can see, especially with the seed breeders, is that the varieties are stronger. The stronger the variety the better they can survive the cold and recover." Nunhems supplies Mastil as the main early variety in late July, start of August, and the last crop is now being sown. In the largest market segment after a busy open day, there are good expectations for the Tesoro variety.

Growing in Almeria

Substrate cultivation
Growing conditions
Growing conditions are also under development. In some parts heating is being carried out on a small scale, one company has even installed pipe rail heating. "That was a glass house. The plastic greenhouses use double foil where foil is placed under the normal greenhouse cover, combined with warm air to speed up growth."

Pipe rail heating in Spanish greenhouses

For more information:
Cees Ammerlaan
Sales Specialist Cucumber
Nunhems Netherlands BV
Mob: + 316 15004979


Publication date: 1/23/2014


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