Heavy rains in Extremadura are severely impacting cherry plantations in the Jerte, Hurdes, and Vera Valley, which is currently in the middle of the campaign. Nearly 70% of the production, which still has to be harvested in the coming weeks, has been affected by the excess humidity and hopes are now pinned on the Picota campaign.
“The season started very well at the beginning of May, with higher yields than last year, good quality fruit, and high prices so far. However, the excessive rain has ruined most of the cherry that was being harvested, as well as the harvest planned for the coming weeks," stated Miguel Angel Gomez, general manager of the Association of Fruit Producers of Extremadura, Afruex.
According to La Unión Extremadura, nearly 25,000 tons of the 35,000 tons expected for this campaign will be affected by rainfall. As a major player in terms of cherry volumes in Spain, the consequences of these adversities will be felt in the markets.
“The fruit has a lot of cracking and other quality issues, which means that a large part of the harvest, around 70% on average, has to be thrown away. It is a disaster because there's still a lot of fruit to be harvested,” Miguel Angel Gomez stressed. "We hope that the Picota varieties, which are harvested later, will not be affected as much," he added.
So far, the rains haven't caused significant damage to the nectarine, peach, donut peach, and plum crops. “At the moment, the stone fruit harvest has slowed down and we remain on alert for possible hailstorms that could take place in the coming days. Some extra-early plum varieties have already started to be harvested, but larger volumes will only be available starting in mid-June. For now, we are expecting good volumes, generally large sizes, and good quality fruit,” the managing director of Afruex stated.