With only a few months away from harvest, Vanguard International is looking forward to the upcoming 2021-2022 Chilean cherry season with a from-the-field update from the company’s Chilean team. After the challenges encountered during last season there is much anticipation for a strong cherry crop this year despite the global shipping challenges the entire industry is facing.
The first key metric to success will be the weather this month. September is a key month in Chile due to the risk of cold weather events, so the team in Chile is keeping a very close eye on the temperatures in these important weeks.
Last season, Chile exported 352,783 tons, approximately 70mm boxes, which is 53% more volume compared with the prior 2019-2020 season. Assuming no major weather issues are had before this year’s harvest, this season’s crop estimation is approximately 400,000 tons (80mm boxes), a 12% volume increase compared to last year.
However, the actual forecast volumes will not be available until the end of September.
Cherry trees blossoming.
Taking a look at the planted area in Chile, this year the industry has an increase of roughly 2,000 hectares for a total of 42,000 hectares. The primary planted varieties are Lapins, Santinas, and Reginas.
To date, cold hours have been tracking within normal parameters, so the blossoms are looking strong and healthy.
This cherry season looks to be seven days earlier compared with last year, which will assist with reaching pre-sale deliveries and orders before Chinese New Year that falls on February 1, 2022.
As the Chilean cherry season heads into its most critical growing period, some important points the Vanguard team is watching for and will continue to report on:
- Weather: weather temperatures staying above levels that could cause frost damage during September.
- Labor: a working force available for cherry thinning in October, which will be a key factor to determine cherry sizing.
- Water: as always, drought conditions will be cautiously watched. As cherries are the first fruit in Chile to be harvested every summer, water issues should not be as big a concern as it will be for other fruits.
- Distribution: Chile continues to experience challenges as most of the production continues to be exported to China. Last season, Vanguard saw many delays in this market due to COVID related issues, which have been well documented, so diversification is a must for the Chilean cherry industry. Some markets Vanguard is focusing on to increase Chilean cherry sales include the USA, Europe, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and Middle East. The company continues to work with customers all around the world to support their Chilean cherry growers and expand cherry markets.