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Year Overview - January

Warm weather plays havoc with winter veg

2017 came in quietly with mild temperatures in Europe, this was to influence the production into the spring, causing over-production which alternated with a lack of production.

Dutch asparagus was early due to warm weather, asparagus growers in the south of the Netherlands were surprised to see their crop start to emerge from the soil so early in January. The high temperatures registered in Murcia in January were also causing great concern among agricultural producers, who feared that their crops' seasons could be affected. Temperatures close to 20 degrees had been registered in large areas of Campo de Cartagena and Guadalentín, where the vegetable harvest has already started. Meanwhile France was seeing an increase in volumes of cauliflower, lambs lettuce and salad due to the mild weather, but a lot less demand.

In the UK a shortage of cauliflowers in January was predicted back in November 2016, when the temperatures were well above average and early supply was outstripping demand and the crop being harvested was meant to be harvested in January. As feared back then, the temperatures stayed unseasonably high throughout December resulting in the February, and some of the March, crop being harvested.

On the other hand Turkey had snow which pushed up fruit and vegetable prices. 

The treacherous weather prevented goods lorries from entering Istanbul, meaning that the prices of tomatoes, lettuce, spring onions and green peppers soared.

Over in the States the weird winter threatened Georgia’s peaches, pecans and blueberries. The state’s pecan, peach and blueberry crops were threatened by too many warm days and too much water, according to growers from across Georgia. The final month of 2015 was the second-rainiest December on record, with consistently warm days and nights.

At the beginning of 2017 South Africa was experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent history as well as a very unstable Rand. The grape export was underway in January but, due to the drought conditions, the South African Table Grape Industry has lowered the forecast for the third time since the start of the season. The total estimate was further reduced by 3 million cartons since the last update on 18th December. The estimate has now fallen below last year's total exports.

A challenging top fruit season was anticipated due to these extreme heat- wave conditions and drought affecting certain production areas, such as Ceres, Berg River, Northern Province and Free State.

"Also, in areas with adequate water, the heat wave conditions experienced since early December has impacted on fruit growth and hence fruit size on the early varieties is expected to be smaller," according to SAAPPA, South African Apple and Pears Producers Association.

Cherry exports form Chile were estimated to be down by 28% for the 2015-2016 season. It was the effects of the rains and spring frosts in the months of September, October and November, which would give an estimate of 74,501 tons of cherries.

In Turkey a grower was shocked by his giant lemons. Ibrahim Karaman from Rize, a province in Turkey’s Black Sea Region was shocked to find that his lemons had grown to almost a kilo a piece.

The warm temperatures recorded during the previous autumn and winter were also determining when the Spanish summer fruit season would kick off. The stonefruit flowering was actually taking place about ten days earlier than average compared to the previous campaign in all major production areas of Spain, with some areas up to 15 days early. The Spanish stonefruit sector was getting ready to make its first shipments to China.