April 2012: The frost finally strikes

In April many places, unfortunately, fell foul of the frosts that everyone had been dreading for months. Warm weather earlier in Winter brought out all the flowering fruit trees ahead of schedule placing them in danger of getting frosted at the most vulnerable time in their cycle.

Damage was widespread in the Northern hemisphere. In the Netherlands top fruit growers reported damage. Perhaps the worst hit areas were the Eastern states of the US. Many types of fruit were affected including apples, blueberries and grapes. In some areas helicopters were drafter in to dry off plants in order to prevent freezing.

Weather damage of a different kind caused problems in Spain as hail struck 3,500 acres of cultivated land. In the UK across some parts a drought was declared and the national Farmer's Union pressed government for action to protect growers' water supplies. Little did anyone realise that the weather would change within a few weeks and give Britain too much rainfall.

The CPMA held its event in Calgary this year, attracting over 200 exhibitors. Many awards were given out including Peak of the Market for best stand in show and Naturipe Farms with best new product.

California got its first case of citrus greening. The disease was confirmed in a domestic tree, but prompted fears that it could spread to commercial cultivation with disastrous consequences. A quarantine area was established 93 square miles around the affected tree to contain the disease.

Researchers at the University of Otago carrying research into the origins of new Zealand's PSA-V outbreak discovered evidence suggesting that the disease came originally from China. DNA showed that this was the case not only for the New Zealand outbreak, but also for Italy.

Zespri welcomed the new management team at Turners & Growers, who immediately made moves to towards patching up differences and developing better communications between the two organisations for the future.

The Argentinian Ambassador to the US, Jorge Arguello held talks with American officials aimed at getting Argentinian lemons back into the lucrative export market.

Canataloupe growers in Colorado unveiled a new set of strict food safety measures and a new brand - Rocky Ford - that confirmed their observation. The idea was to retain consumer confidence in the face of foodborne disease outbreak last year, connected to Colorado melons, which claimed several lives.

In the Netherlands Queen Beatrix officially opened the Floriade exhibition in the Southern city of Venlo on the 4th April. The international horticultural exhibition is held every 10 years and lasts for 6 months.

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