The intense cold in Spain over the past two weeks, with several nights of sub-zero temperatures, is taking its toll on several crops in the Murcia region, mainly stone fruit and field vegetables.
The earliest nectarine and peach trees in Cieza, Calasparra, and Vega Alta were already in bloom when the frost hit. It is estimated that nearly 40% of the blossoms of the ultra-early varieties have already been lost, despite producers' best efforts to save them with anti-frost candles and wind machines.
"In these areas, the blossom was a week early due to the spring temperatures in December. We regret the loss of part of the blossoms. Fortunately, we didn't lose a very large volume and, for the time being, it won't affect the planning of Murcia's future stone fruit season. Had these frosts happened next month, the damage would be much greater,” stated Joaquin Gomez, president of Apoexpa.
"On the other hand, the cold has been very positive for the accumulation of cold hours for the less early varieties, as autumn and early winter have been warmer than usual," he added. Donut peaches and extra-early peach trees in the Guadalentin Valley were affected by the frosts.
Among the vegetables, the artichokes in the Guadalentin valley have been particularly affected. The temperature has already fallen below 0 degrees for more than three nights.
According to Coag-Initiativa Rural de Alhama de Murcia, the damage is estimated at around 400 hectares, mainly in artichoke cultivation, but also in lettuce, due to lack of rain and the little irrigation they would currently receive. The frosts have also affected broccoli and cauliflower crops. Meanwhile, the cold continues to paralyze horticultural development and create a supply gap in markets.