Fruit crops: frost damage worth millions –

The worst night was Monday – with temperatures dropping to minus four degrees in some areas, said fruit grower Manfred Kohlfürst, president of the Agricultural Chamber of Commerce. About half of Styria's cultivated areas are affected by frost damage.

Although many farmers take expensive frost protection measures, there is not much that can be done to fight the cold – helicopters have also been used, Kolfurst says: “Frost irrigation or heating helps. Of course we have been able to achieve success in some areas, but that is only part of our areas.

Young fruits freeze solid

The fruit growers survived the flowering period without frost, but now there are already fruits on the tree – small apples, for example, already a good centimeter in diameter. Very quickly freezes completely and then the kernels inside are completely brown and frozen.

The full extent of the damage is yet to be estimated

Herbert Muster, spokesman for fruit growing at the Styrian Chamber of Agriculture, said on Friday: “The snow night from April 21 to 22 was very problematic and really caused serious damage there. However, damage should still be viewed relatively – there are only a few cases where there is truly total failure. We see partial damage in many areas, maybe there will still be a harvest. Whether there will be any loss in quality will be seen only in the next few days,” he said.

Kolfurst also said that it is difficult to make a forecast for the fruits at this time: “If they are not completely damaged, do they continue to grow, do they drop, visual damage or quality damage to these fruits arise from these key events. : All this is very vague at present.

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It doesn't just affect apples, Styrian stone fruit and strawberry crops are also affected, said Josef Kurz from Hagelversicherung, Austria: “All fruit crops like apples, pears and stone fruits like cherries, apricots, plums and peaches. are affected. It can be said that low and medium altitudes are particularly affected by radiant chill, but unfortunately fruit damage is visible in good locations. Weiss District is definitely the worst hit.

Madhu: Damage yes, disaster no

Damage yes, no disaster – Stephan Boetzinger, spokesman for the wine producers of the Styrian Chamber of Agriculture, summarizes the current situation for wine producers after the frosty nights: “It seems that there are places in Styria that are known to be at risk. Frost has created problems. It's been borderline cold for the past ten days, and some of the exposed vineyards are actually frozen. We have Leutschach, Glanz, Eichberg, Wies, parts of northern Vulcanland where there have been small areas of problems.

2016 was pretty bad

According to Austrian Hail Insurance, total damage to fruit and wine grown in Styria was 37 million euros, Kurz says, including about 32 million to fruit and five million to wine; Damage across Austria was around 56 million. However, there is agreement that the frost year of 2016 was very bad for both fruit growing and viticulture.

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