In the latest Under the Mango Tree report from Crespo Organic, author Nissa Pierson shares insights gained on recent tours of Mexican mango crops. Here are some highlights:
The cold weather during blooming came but the water and heat didn't follow.
Mangoes need cold weather during blooming and fruit set and then eventually, they need water and heat to grow big. The cold weather during blooming came but the water and heat didn’t follow. There was some rain in El Rosario already which will help Sinaloa crops. But Nayarit will remain small for the duration of the season.
The majority of Mexican mango production is irrigated by rains naturally. Only a small portion of growers use irrigation so the industry is suffering with the average size coming from Nayarit at a 12 for round mangoes and 20/22s on Ataulfos. Similar expectations are set for Sinaloa’s crop, which should begin harvest the last week of June.
It’s hard to understand how in a drought there could be more mangoes. But it’s important to note that most large growers have been increasing production over the last several years as we have. So, despite drought-related problems, there are a lot more mangoes in production this season, both in Nayarit and in Sinaloa. That means a lot of little mangoes.
Small means 12 and 14cnt round and 20/22/24cnt Ataulfos. Normally the fruit starts small and sizes up. It can only size up with heat and water and so far, especially in Nayarit, there is neither. There is some big fruit.
Fruit drop at all stages are normal but Pierson hadn't seen this much before.
During tours, I noticed a significant amount of fruit drop. Fruit drop at all stages are normal, but I hadn’t seen this much before.
Another anomaly was mangoes within the clusters that had deformities/stunted growth. The trees stopped supplying nutrients to the fruit it doesn’t think will make it to ensure the stronger ones do. The fruit the tree doesn’t supply nutrients to picks which mangoes to supply to. I saw lot of fruit shrivel I hadn’t really noticed in the past.
An anomaly seen on some mango trees were cluster deformities.
As we get closer to the Sinaloa crop the question is: what will be? Will the fruit get bigger? Will it rain or get hot?
The weather is getting hotter, which will help the fruit size some with or without water. We are cautiously optimistic about the Sinaloa region. We think the fruit will be bigger than it is now in Nayarit, averaging more 10s. But we don’t think we will get that much bigger fruit.