The Perfect Storm II: “We had all the factors that we don’t want to have in cherry production”

The Perfect Storm II: “We had all the factors that we don’t want to have in cherry production”

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In the second part of this first report prepared by Smartcherry TV, we visited once again the orchards of the Metropolitan, Maule and O’higgins regions in Chile, where we spoke with producers and specialists in the cultivation of cherries about the measures that helped to mitigate, in part, the consequences of a perfect storm.

“The effect of the rains and the winter we had, generated widespread compaction. When we think that a cubic meter of water weighs a thousand kilos, and we had flooded fields, which were flooded for two or three weeks, this enormous compaction was generated, and in clay soils, I would say that it was something brutal, which is why we lost part of the work done, I would say two seasons, and even three,” commented Lucas Ferrada, specialist advisor in nutrition and soil.

This situation made it practically impossible to start nutritional programs on time. In the case of varieties like Brooks, there was barely a week and a half to complete this important task. Although by mid-September, already close to flowering, the outlook looked quite good, as the days passed, the abortion of the fruits began, which also intensified with the rains.

Carlos Tapia, specialist advisor in cherry production and Technical Director of Avium, adds that “we saw everything; very long blooms; floral stages that lasted 35 days; disparity in flowering, from the point of view of the height of the orchards, etc., and these different floral states, distributed at different heights of the plant – which can also respond to cold accumulation – also had an effect on the sprouting, and that is carried forward throughout the phenology”.

“El Niño” phenomenon and 2024 without respite

“This event in particular escaped all the regulations that were planned, especially due to the two atmospheric rivers that practically caused a disaster,” explained Patricio Gonzalez, an agroclimatologist at the University of Talca in Chile.

According to estimates, this event will continue in the country, at least until May 2024, and two possible scenarios are expected in climatic terms: that the Pacific Ocean enters a neutral phase, or that the “La Niña” phenomenon enters.

“If the second occurs, we could have the following characteristics: greater accumulation of cold hours, which is good, but with a decrease in precipitation,” concluded the specialist.

Review in detail on Smartcherry TV, the second part of “The Perfect Storm” and learn firsthand what the cherry industry in Chile is experiencing today.

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