When some of the agricultural key players were participating in Macfrut, one of the largest horticultural fairs in Italy, Smartcherry were informed that heavy rains damaged cherry orchards in Bisceglie and Corato, both located in the Puglia region.
Only few days before the harvest was set to begin, a frontal system caused severe complications, splitting the early varieties such as Bigarreau, Roma and Ferrovia. Among other fruits, cherries are particularly vulnerable to splitting from the rain.
Smartcherry spoke with Cataldo Lobascio, agronomist and cherry production advisor in Southern Italy, where around 70% of Italian cherries are produced: “After the rains, we had sunny and clear days, but the cherries damaged by the rain were, unfortunately, wasted; one of the varieties affected is the Bigarreau, as well as the Early Lory and Sweetheart.”
“Now we are starting the harvest of the Bigarreau, which has a red colour in the earliest area; the mid-late varieties are still in the growth phase. We are taking measures to prevent rain damage by applying calcium and magnesium to improve size and colour intensity,” Lobascio explained.
Producers are working on implementing the best strategies to prevent further rain damage in a spring season that has brought late precipitation, threatening the production of early cherries in Southern Italy.