For the second straight year, Chile has been hit with unusually cold fall weather, potentially damaging fruit crops.
Temperatures dipped into the 27- to 29-degree range for three or four hours on Oct. 9, said John Pandol, special projects director for Delano, Calif.-based Pandol Bros. Inc.
The unexpected sub-freezing temperatures were recorded in and south of the Molina growing area, about 150 miles south of Santiago, Pandol said.
The main crop in the area is blueberries, followed by apples, kiwifruit and cherries.
While there’s likely some damage, Pandol said, a lot depends on where fruit was grown. And more time is needed for accurate estimates.
“Depending on if you’re in a low spot or high spot or happened to have irrigated. At this time in the production cycle it takes more than a week to know what will recover and how it will look.”
Pandol also cautioned that the first damage reports are “usually greatly exaggerated.”
“None of Pandol’s blueberry growers in the region have advised us to change plans at this point, and until we hear different, Pandol is proceeding with the original volumes and timings.”
Freezes in September 2013 in Chile caused substantial losses to some crops. Kiwifruit, stone fruit and pears were among those hit the hardest.