Fruit farmers from the Valencian Community in Spain have not had the easiest run with the weather over the past nine months, suffering from destructive events including hailstorms last September, torrential rains in December and successive bouts of hail and frost this April.
As if that weren’t enough, inclement weather struck the region again over the weekend with hail affecting citrus fields as well as orchards of nectarines, peaches, apricots, persimmons and tomatoes.
The Valencian Farmers Association (AVA-ASAJA) said 10,000 hectares of crops had been affected by hail in different parts of the region, with provisional damage estimates of €15 million (£13 million).
The group however emphasised making that estimate was very difficult due to the widespread and varying nature of the hailstorm across different areas.
For example, in localities like Montesa damages have almost been 100% in citrus, persimmon and other fruit crops, around 70% in citrus fields in Pedralba, and approximately 30-40% for these same crops in municipalities of Losa del Obispo, Casinos, Llíria and Villar del Arzobispo.
It is clear though that the most affected areas are Campo de Túria, La Costera, the Albaida Valley, the Cofrentes Valley and Los Serranos; the latter two have also suffered from damages to their almond and olive fields, and Los Serranos was the focal point of frosts in late April.
AVA-ASAJA said it was also important to note the “copious rains” across the community had beneficial effects in areas that weren’t impacted by hail.
“At this time of the year, coinciding with a general rise in temperatures, the important additional irrigation that these storms have brought to all crops has been very positive and will also contribute to increasing the size of the clean fruit on trees, replenishing aquifers and attenuate the incidence of pests,” the organisation said.