In Spain, specifically in the Zaragoza and Lleida area, an early harvest is being observed as a result of a rather hot spring. However, prior to and during the harvest, temperatures have significantly dropped, leading to a dispersion of the fruit in the field, with some ready to be picked and others needing to wait.
“While the harvest season started early, it has had to be done in stages, with some fields requiring picking even three times. This has slowed down the process and extended the harvest period,” explains Christian Gallegos, Cofounder and technical director at CropSolutions.
Producers say they experienced a winter with less chill accumulation than expected and what the planted varieties require. “This has led to greater heterogeneity during flowering, but at the same time, it was a spring with good temperatures, which favored fruit set,” adds the cherry advisor and consultant.
Today, a good season is expected in terms of volume and fruit quality, although with smaller-sized cherries. This contrasts with last year when various weather events caused fruit loss.
“In the area, crop load regulation is primarily done during pruning, but since there has been a spring with very good weather, fruit set coefficients have increased by 30 to 40% compared to a normal year. For example, if four to five fruits were expected from a Lapins, today there are eight or nine fruits per cluster. This has generated a large volume, with smaller sizes compared to a normal year,” explains Gallegos.
Among the varieties planted in Zaragoza and Lleida, crops include Sweet Aryana, Nimba, Pacific Red, Frisco, Sweet Lorenz, and Sweet Gabriel.