The end of March and the beginning of April have been marked by various storms, which have so far damaged 2,192.99 hectares of crops in Extremadura. That is the provisional data offered by Agroseguro, although this figure will likely increase in the coming days, as more damage reports arrive.
The storms, of diverse intensity, started in the last weekend of March. In the first week of April, they intensified in some points of the region, such as Feria, Navalvillar de Pela, Castuera or Siruela. The direct consequence of the hail is that a good share of the fruit trees has been damaged. In fact, of those almost 2,200 hectares in which hail has been recorded, 1,806.49 are planted with fruit trees, which is 82.4% of the total area affected. The most affected region is Las Vegas Altas del Guadiana.
"It is yet impossible to quantify the actual damage, as experts are still making a first assessment and, in any case, it will only become truly clear when the harvest begins," says Jesús Cano, head of Agroseguro in Extremadura.
"We were in the middle of the thinning period. The truth is that we do not really know yet how the trees will be affected. Different statements have been made from different plots. What is certain is that things would have gone much worse if the hail had been recorded at the end of this month or in early May," says Miguel Ángel Gómez, manager of the Association of Fruit Growers of Extremadura (Afruex).
Until the hailstorms happened, an exceptional fruit campaign had been expected. So much so, that some growers had actually expanded their insurance in order to cover a larger production.