Chile: Evaluation of the effects of the frost on citrus fruits

As reported by various media, there have been considerable frosts in June and July of this season. The low temperatures affected different producing areas, and reached -3°C to -4°C in some affected orchards. Fortunately, the extension of the phenomenon has been limited, and has only affected some sectors in the valleys and only some sectors of the affected orchards.

To date, the harvests, the potential damage to them, and the possible adjustment of this season's export estimates by species, are as follows:

Clementines: There is already a 100% advance. The volume surpassed the initial estimate of the Citrus Committee of 66,000 tons, no frost damages or decrease in production were detected in the estimate.

Lemons: More than 70% of the shipments estimated for the season have been shipped out and more than 85% advance in the harvest. Due to the location of the orchards on protected hillsides and the high degree of advance of harvest, the estimate for the season remains as it was (77,000 tons).

Navel oranges: Given the state of maturity of the fruit at the time of the frosts and since the temperatures were above -2.5° C in most cases, estimates are there were limited damages. 63% of the shipments have been made and, so far, estimates are that nearly 10% of the fruit was lost. Thus, since production was expected to increase slightly, the net result would be similar to what was exported last season (75,858 tons in 2017).

Late Mandarins: 2% of the estimated shipments have been done, and since this fruit has a high sensitivity to damage it is expected to be the most affected species by the frosts. Preliminary observations suggest that around 15% of the fruit was affected by the frost. However, since estimates were production would be 30% higher than in the 2017 season (76,763 tons), producers expect to have a normal season, with a growth of nearly 20%.

The advance of the present season has been slower than in previous seasons due to the temperature conditions during the fruit's growth period, which have delayed the internal and external maturity of the fruit. The presence of persistent mists and rains has also generated difficulties for the entry of personnel into the orchards for the usual harvesting tasks.

The Citrus Committee is carrying out different activities with producers and exporters to improve the flow of technical information and the damage estimates to its members. Once the evaluations in the orchards have been completed, the latest export volume estimate for the current season will be announced.

Source: Chile's Citrus Committee - Sanitation

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