The days last week with temperatures that reached 30 degrees Celsius have accelerated the growth of the fruit, as well as the flowering of later varieties; however, the extra early fruit campaign is still behind this year compared to a normal campaign.
According to Pascual Hortelano, of FECOAM, the cold of February and the lack of sunshine in January explain this phenomenon. Moreover, frosts have caused a decline in the production estimated at around 35 percent.
According to the head for stone fruit at FECOAM, the harvest is expected to be delayed by about 15 days, although it is still early to tell for sure. "We have gone from a significant advance in December, when the heat caused the trees to bloom early, to the opposite."
Last week's high temperatures accelerated the growth of the small fruits that had already formed, but it could have taken a toll on the extra early apricot varieties that were in bloom at that time and which are usually self-sterile.
"When the flowering occurs with maximum temperatures ranging between 28 and 30 degrees, the flower opens right away and causes the petals to fall within 24h, so bees don't have enough time to properly pollinate the flowers," says the technical director of PSB Producción Vegetal.
"We have previously had a similar year with high temperatures during the flowering and we observed a poor fruit setting in extra early apricots. However, it is still early to say if we will have the same this year. At the moment, it looks like the flowering is going fast and with good temperatures, ranging between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius," he said.