Italy: Buds appear one month early

Winter has yet to come in Emilia-Romagna, just like in most fruit-producing areas in Italy. On 9th January, eastern Emilia-Romagna reached 15°C. In Argenta (Ferrara), there was a spring-like storm with lightning and hail. Of course such temperatures have led to the appearance of buds. 

The photo below was taken by producer Mauro Bosi in his orchard. "We are one month early than last year, which is a disaster. The cold weather will come and it will be trouble for the flower or fruits."

Producers can do nothing about it. In case of late frost when flowers have set or if fruits have already formed, there will be very little to be done to defend crops. Last year, some producers from Ferrara managed to obtain good results in terms of protection.

Two types of products can be used on orchards. The first preserves the fruits and buds guaranteeing a temperature difference of 1.5°C. It costs €50 per hectare and lasts around ten days. The second is a mixture of algae, amino acids and zinc. It must be used the day before the expected frost and costs around €45 per hectare.

However, these interventions must be carried out post-setting and after petals have fallen.

Bosi specialises in plum production. He owns around 10 hectares producing 15 varieties in the Ravenna province. "Temperatures have been low at night and rather warm during the day. Plants got all the chill hours they needed and now believe spring has arrived. I'm very worried about this situation."

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