Spain rains

Agronomists at Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias de España (CAE), the trade association that represents the interests of agri-food co-ops in Spain, have analysed the effects of persistent rainfall on crops throughout the country during the wettest March for more than 60 years.

In a report released this week by the organisation, it said growers had to contend with average rainfall of 150 litres per square metre during March.

Some of the worst affected lines have been fruit and vegetable crops, although the persistent rains have served to replenish low water levels in reservoirs.

Andalusia and particularly the area of Huelva were hit hard and strawberries suffered a significant downturn in output as low light levels slowed down fruit development. High winds also caused costly damage of plastic structures in the fields. CAE estimates that some 30 per cent of March’s strawberry output was lost while raspberries, blackberries and blueberries also suffered but to a lesser extent.

In the north-eastern region of Navarre some apple and pear orchards were flooded, although the main growing areas for these crops in Catalonia have escaped unscathed. Meanwhile, in Valencia, the effects have been mixed and patchy across different parts of the region. Inland areas suffered unexpected snowfall after frosts in Februray and hail in March affected the nispero crop.