Nearly 500 hectares of apple and pear trees in the regions of Regina and Chichinales, in the Argentine province of Rio Negro, were devastated by the strong hail storm there was on Sunday, January 12. According to the National Institute of Agricultural Technology, INTA, the area was affected by a category 3 storm, the highest category, as the hail reached 20 millimeters in diameter.
There were also hail storms in the municipalities of Roca, Allen, and Fernandez Oro, but they didn't cause any damages to agriculture.
The most affected area was concentrated in eastern Regina towards Chichinales, where more than 50 producers have told the Regina Chamber of Producers that they were affected by the hail.
Andrea Rodríguez, who works at the meteorological area of the Experimental Station of INTA Alto Valle, said the damage to the fruit trees was very serious because the hail fell dry. The harvest is expected to begin this week but the strong gusts of wind there were last Wednesday and this storm have greatly complicated things for producers.
Hugo Gagliano, one of the affected producers who has about 40 hectares of fruit trees distributed between Regina and Chichinales, estimates that he had losses of up to 20%. However, he said, there are many hectares with 100% damage. Miguel Tavernini, a producer that has 12 hectares in the town of Cuatro Esquinas lost all of his pear, apple, and peach production. "In the following days, we'll pick up the fruit that was left to sell it to the juice industry," he said visibly frustrated. Tavernini said the money he'll receive will barely be enough to pay for the harvest.