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Argentina: Late frost affected almonds, peaches and plums
The high-risk frost cycle has struck unevenly in the productive areas of Mendoza. Almonds, peaches and plums, some flowering and others that have already sprouted, felt the full rigor of sub-zero temperatures that reached a minimum of -5° C depending the zone.
The DACC (Directorate of Agriculture and Climate Contingencies) records confirmed that temperatures fell below zero in all cultivated areas since dawn yesterday. And, except for another frost expected for Thursday, the forecasts anticipate good weather until the weekend.
San Rafael and General Alvear were among the areas most affected, with -3° and -6°. In the Centro oasis, the greatest harm fell on San Carlos (-4.8° C in Tres Esquinas), while the eastern zone experienced an average of -3°, with Santa Rosa as an extreme (-5° C).
Likewise, the North oasis averaged -2.5°, although the extreme conditions occurred in Lavalle, especially Gustavo André (-5°) and Jocolí (-3°). Others, except for Perdriel (-3.3°), had more benevolent conditions, such as Corralitos (-0.9) and Russell (-0.4°).
In order to illustrate the previous day's partial frost balance, Martin Cavagnaro, DACC's Research and Development area coordinator compared it to "the first thinning of flowers and fruits, typical of a normal harvest."
Almonds and stone fruits, the measure
It is known that nuts are the most sensitive of the time, and in that sense September begins with almond tree plantations, especially in the North oasis, with a 70% advance in its set. The varieties produced in the East and Uco Valley, however, still have advanced flowering.
Among the stone fruits, the first frost affected peaches for early consumption, and some types of plums, with at least 50% of their flowers open and set, in the Northern and part of the Eastern zones.
The truth is that part of the disparity of this affliction (although it remains to be confirmed with the field surveys, estimated not to exceed 10%) is attributable to an irregular phenological cycle.
"The varieties that had been anticipated to produce a lot last year experienced a delay in their advance, while others like the peach, advanced.
Even so, we are within the historical average," summarized Cavagnaro. The truth is that among the producers this was the first serious experience of the season, but not enough to think of it as one with irreparable losses of great magnitude. "The plot was delayed by between ten and fourteen days, so this first frost did not affect it as much," confirmed plum producer Ruben Cano, who farms 55 hectares in the provincial South.
Publication date: 9/1/2017
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