Recently, a number of Enza Zaden representatives visited Almería. There they observed that the bell pepper acreage in Almería remained relatively stable compared to last year (around 7,500 ha). The vitality of the crops in winter can be said to be good in recent years. One of the reasons for this is the ever improving varieties for these non-heated cultivations. Another important aspect is the success of integrated pest control, which is much less taxing on the crops than the chemical control of old.
Mainly healthy crops now as well then, and yet cultivation-wise things aren't going so well as last year. The temperatures have been lower than last year all winter. During the last planting in November and December, that temperature clearly played a part. Fewer young fruits are hanging from the plants than last year, and fruits that are there, often have abnormalities in shape or so-called sheep's heads. The fruit load is lower anyway, because the planting stopped earlier. Mid-January, the most prevalent fruit load was around 17 fruits/m2. The fruit weight was well over 200 grammes for most varieties.
Melon cultivation after bell pepper cultivation
This year, many growers are expected to opt for melon cultivation in between the two bell pepper cultivations. The problems with the virus weren't as big as expected last year, and the price of melons was good. Spain is never entirely out of the market (see fig. 1), because Almería isn't the only production region. The region of Murcia (2000 ha) for instance, mostly coincides with the Dutch season.