"Due to the lack of rain and the high temperatures in August, the chestnut harvest is expected to drop dramatically," said Renzo Panzacchi, president of the Consorzio Castanicoltori dell'Appennino Bolognese (Consortium of chestnut growers from Bologna Apennines).
"From discussions with the representatives of the eight cooperatives that grow chestnuts, a fairly uniform picture emerges. There is a lack of supply and the quantities will be much lower than in 2020. Only after the harvest will it be possible to make a real assessment, but the prospects are not good."
The eight cooperatives account for about 450 growers with an area of 1,250 hectares. "There are no major differences between the different growing areas, as they have been uniformly affected by the drought. When it finally started raining about three weeks ago, it was too late."
Until early August there were 2-3 fruits per husk. Then, due to the lack of water, the trees ended up with one or two in order for at least one to survive and this is what will cause the sharp drop in yields. The hope is that the remaining chestnuts will at least be of a high caliber.
"In some areas there is also the problem of lice. Although biological control is effective in preventing and reducing damage, it is not yet sufficient," explained the president.
With regard to the calendar, in the mid-hills up to 450 meters above sea level, the harvest should start at the beginning of October and from 10 October onwards. The campaign is slightly delayed by about 7 days compared to a normal year," concluded Panzacchi.