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Risk events

Indonesia - Drought, wildfires inflict double whammy on crops

Wildfires, smoke and drought are inflicting an increasingly painful toll on Indonesian agriculture, hurting everything from oil palm plantations to rubber trees and rice fields. Raging forest fires in Sumatra and Borneo may curb supplies of palm oil and rubber, while a longer than usual dry season in Java has wilted some of the country’s rice crop, which is the main staple for 270 million people. Indonesia is the world’s top producer of palm oil and second-largest supplier of rubber. Smoke from illegal burning to clear land in Indonesia has been worse than usual this year and spread across Southeast Asia, causing flight disruptions and respiratory illness for thousands of people. While Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered a crackdown on arsonists, there may be little respite soon as the rainy season won’t start before late October, the weather bureau says. Forest fires to clear land have also wrought havoc in the Brazilian Amazon. Drought and haze have set back ripening of palm oil fruit and disrupted operations at plantations and mills, potentially slowing production growth this year to about half last year’s rate of 13%, said Joko Supriyono, chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association. Dry weather normally takes a while to show up in production, with a greater impact likely to be seen in 2020, he said. Slash-and-Burn The worse than expected dry weather in Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia and Sabah in Malaysia may reduce output from older palm trees, according to Marcello Cultrera, institutional sales manager at Phillip Futures in Kuala Lumpur. The haze from the forest fires has a small impact on palm oil extraction rates and output in the very short term, he said. An aerial view of peatland and forest fires next to a palm oil plantation in Central Kalimantan on Sept. 14. Photographer: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images Farmers in Sumatra and Borneo are using illegal slash-and-burn techniques, which are much cheaper than other methods, to clear land for palm oil, pulp and rubber plantations. More than 320,000 hectares have been burnt in the first eight months of the year, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. The Indonesian government has said that only about 22% of forestry business permit holders, or 2,179 firms, have submitted mandatory reports on forest fire control, suggesting a lack of commitment in preventing fires on their land. Still, oil palm plantations are generally not the source of burning, according to the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries. Fires recorded in plantations have usually spread from neighboring areas, it said. Rubber trees are also at risk. Output, already hit by fungal disease, may plunge 20% from 3.67 million tons last year as drought and forest fires disrupt tapping, said Erwin Tunas, executive director of the Rubber Association of Indonesia. The haze blocks sunlight that’s crucial for photosynthesis, the group says. Prolonged Drought While Java, Indonesia’s top rice producer, hasn’t been hit by wildfires, a prolonged drought has parched farmland, damaging more than 250,000 hectares of rice and causing more than 580,000 tons of losses, according to Edy Purnawan, director of crop protection at the Agriculture Ministry. The government is urging farmers to plant seeds suitable for dry land for the small harvest in the fourth quarter, to make up for the losses, Purnawan said. While the area affected is small compared with Indonesia’s total rice plantings over about 9 million hectares, a less significant crop failure last year helped spur an increase in imports to the highest in six years. Ample stockpiles with state-owned Bulog will probably prevent major new imports this time round. Source - https://www.bloomberg.com


Bolivia - Losses of up to 90% in banana production due to extreme winds

The strong winds recorded on Tuesday, September 10, in the Estaño Palmito region of the municipality of Chimore, in the Bolivian department of Cochabamba, damaged 200 hectares of banana production from 40 producers. According to the deputy mayor of the 10th district of Chimore, Gilberto Calani, the winds brought down the trees causing losses of up to 90% of the production. Calani estimated that the crops will take six to eight months to recover. This producing area sends 3,000 boxes of export bananas and another smaller amount of banana bunches each week to supply the local market, so according to estimates producers will lose some US $300,000 in the six months in which they will be unable to harvest fruits. Calani also indicated that there was a large investment lost because this is a time when banana exports increase to $4 per box, while in the rainy season it's price stands at $2. The bananas from this area are mainly sent to Argentina. Source - https://www.freshplaza.com


Australia - Cold snap could be costly for Esperance grain growers

Farmers are counting the costs of crop damage after isolated but severe frosts dealt a cruel blow on WA’s south coast. Temperatures dropped to below freezing at Esperance and surrounding areas last week, damaging the region’s crops, with reports emerging entire farms’ crops could be lost following the substantial stem frost. It has left many farmers to decide whether to cut some crops for hay. Salmon Gums was among the worst impacted by the cold conditions to have five-consecutive below freezing minimums from last Thursday to Monday at -07, -3.5, -2, -3.2 and -4.9. It got as cold as -2.6C at Cascade, while -1C was recorded at Scaddan on Monday. Grass Patch shivered to -0.2C on Friday, before reaching lows of -1.2C on Sunday and -2.3 on Monday. The Esperance region’s freezing conditions have been followed by maximums of up to 30C, including 34.3C at Grass Patch on Monday. Esperance-based agronomist Monica Field told the extent of the frost’s damage remained unknown. However, she said there were reports multiple paddocks — and potentially entire farms — had been lost due to the substantial stem frost. “There was one very severe frost last Friday morning, but it was as bad as -5C at Salmon Gums with an extended period of up to eight hours below zero,” she said. “Salmon Gums has been very severely hit, as has parts of Beaumont and the top of Cascade — we are only just getting a handle on how bad it is. “There are reports that some people have had 100 per cent losses.” Grain Industry Association of WA latest crop report, released last month, estimated a 13.76 million tonne crop for this year. It marked a 23.2 per cent drop on last year’s harvest. GIWA executive member and crop report author Michael Lamond said more showers were needed to avoid a revised drop in the State’s harvest estimate. “A frost like this for multiple hours, followed by heat, is the worst combination,” he said. “If there is no rain next week, the estimated tonnage could go down. “We are on a knife-edge, but the crops — besides the frosted areas — still look pretty good, particularly in the north at Morawa, Mullewa and Mingenew.” GIWA’s next crop report is expected to be released tomorrow. Source - https://thewest.com.au


Spain - Reineta apple harvest in Burgos decreased by half due to the frost

The strong frosts in the Caderechas Valley in April and May, when temperatures fell to -2 and -5º C, affected the flowering stage of the Reineta apples. 50% of the production was lost due to this weather event. Thus, producers will only collect approximately 100,000 kilos, when they normally harvest 200,000 kilos. The frost affected the most the trees with the most advanced flowering, just like it did to the cherry crops, located in the lower towns of Caderechas. Salas de Bureba has taken the worst part and is the most affected area. However, the upper part's production will be practically normal, according to Juan Jose Gandia, the president of the Association of Producers and Traders Las Caderechas. Even though the apple production decreased, the quality of the fruit is very good due to the lack of rains in the summer months, which has kept the calibers in the appropriate range. That factor, however, varies from farm to farm, depending on their situation. Source - https://www.freshplaza.com


Spain - Hail storms in province of Alicante cause 3 million Euro worth of damage

According to the company Agroseguro, the damages caused by the hail storms recorded in the last week of August in Alicante, which mainly hit some 900 hectares of citrus crops, are worth 3 million Euro. In a statement, Agroseguro highlighted the impact of the hail storm of August 27, which mostly hit the municipalities of Orihuela, Benferri, Algorfa, Benejúzar and Almoradí. The citrus productions (around 20 million kilograms) are the most damaged, with different degrees of harm, although those produced in Benferri stand out the most in this regard. The appraisal work has already started, so Agroseguro has said that it is important for the insured to issue their claims promptly. The company recalled that the damages caused by threats such as hail are covered by the Agrarian Insurance system. Source - https://www.freshplaza.com


Spain - Latest storms damage summer fruits, grapes and peppers

As reported by Agroseguro, the crops most affected by the recent rain and hail storms have been summer fruits, grapes and peppers, although it is still too early to know the actual extent of the damage. The most affected autonomous regions are Castile-La Mancha and Madrid. Agroseguro has highlighted the incidents in municipalities such as Arganda del Rey, in Madrid, Seseña and Borox, in Toledo, Villanueva de los Infantes, in Ciudad Real, or Las Pedroñeras, in Cuenca, where the rains caused the overflow of streams and floods. Other autonomous regions have also recorded severe damages. It's the case of the Aragonese county of Calatayud, where fruit trees and wine grapes have been the most damaged crops. In Andalusia and Extremadura, vegetable producers expect significant losses. Agroseguro has called on the insured to send their claims "as quickly as possible," as it is already working on the planning of appraisals, and recalled that the damages caused by this type of extreme phenomena are covered by the Combined Agricultural Insurance system. Source - https://www.freshplaza.com


Canada - Anthrax kills 7 animals in southeastern Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture is reminding producers to be on the lookout for anthrax in their animals after an anthrax case was confirmed in the RM of Golden West in southeastern Saskatchewan. Anthrax was confirmed by laboratory results on August 29, 2019, as the cause of sudden death in seven animals. Anthrax is a bacterial pathogen in livestock and wild animals. Ruminants such as bison, cattle, sheep and goats are highly susceptible, and horses can also be infected. Anthrax is a very serious disease of livestock because it can potentially cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a very short time. Affected animals are often found dead with no illness detected. When conditions become favorable, the spores germinate into colonies of bacteria. An example would be a grazing cow ingests spores that in the cow, germinate, grow spread and eventually kill the animal. Anthrax is caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. This spore forming bacteria can survive in the environment for decades because of its ability to resist heat, cold, drying, etc. This is usually the infectious stage of anthrax. There are no reports of person-to-person transmission of anthrax. People get anthrax by handling contaminated animal or animal products, consuming undercooked meat of infected animals and more recently, intentional release of spores. There are three types of human anthrax with differing degrees of seriousness: cutaneous, gastrointestinal and inhalation. Anthrax can be prevented by vaccination. Officials say anyone who suspects the presence of an anthrax case should contact their local veterinarian immediately for diagnosis.  All tests must be confirmed by a laboratory diagnosis.  All positive test results must be immediately reported to the provincial Chief Veterinary Officer.  Producers are advised to use caution when handling potentially infected animals or carcasses. Source - http://outbreaknewstoday.com


Spain - Storm affects more than 10,000 ha in Castilla-La Mancha

The first estimates of the damage generated by the storm in Castilla-La Mancha, carried out by Asaja, show losses in agricultural production of between 10,000 and 12,000 hectares. The technical secretary general of the agricultural organization, Arturo Serrano, has indicated that the province most affected is Ciudad Real, especially the south and Campo de Montiel region, where "thousands of hectares" have been affected by the hail storm. The leader has specified that in crops such as vineyard or pepper "the damage is the total production" and therefore is considering the request of the municipalities of the region as a disaster area. Likewise, in the municipality of Villarrobledo there has been "considerable damage" to the vineyard, affecting between 20% and 60% of production. As for Guadalajara, Serrano has indicated that there has also been occasional damage to horticultural crops. With regard to the province of Cuenca, the secretary of Asaja has detailed that in the area of Las Pedroñeras, El Provencio and Las Mesas olive groves and vineyards have been "very affected" by hail as well as onion. In Toledo, according to Asaja's estimates, although there have been very strong gusts of water they were not accompanied by hail, but in Corral de Almaguer and Santa Cruz de la Zarza hail has fallen and the damage is between 20 or 30% of production. In addition, Serrano has indicated that the heavy rains have caused the plots to become flooded and this makes it difficult to work in the field in the coming days in areas where harvesting was going to start and where grape harvesting has already begun. At this point, Arturo Serrano has stressed that when this type of storm occurs the rivers, streams, ditches and roads are filled with mud because there is no cleaning and maintenance of these areas, so he has asked the administrations to do a job of prevention and "do not leave these areas abandoned." Source - https://www.freshplaza.com


Canada - Light frost spells danger for late crops

Parts of Saskatchewan were hit by a light frost this past week, and some farmers are worried that their crops aren't as mature as they'd like. Thankfully, the frost which hit areas south of North Battleford and Watrous was only around -1 to -2 degrees and only lasted about a few hours. Cory Jacob, crops extension specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture, says that the length of the frost is just as important as the severity of the temperature. "The longer it freezes the more damage we see. If it just dips below 0° for a few hours there's a lot less damage in that regard." The less mature a crop is, the more vulnerable it is to frost damage, meaning that crops like chickpeas and lentils are probably not too much at risk this time of year. Crops like wheat, corn, and soybeans however, are still at a point where a long and heavy frost could be devastating. Jacob says these crops are slightly behind due to lack of rain early in the spring. "Everyone seeded when they could this year but the rains came in June and a lot of our crops didn't start growing until mid-June or even into July. That's really the factor right now. The moisture came later and the crops came later. This is what we have as a result." The frost is bound to come eventually, and Jacob says that the risk of crop damage is higher this year than in many previous years. Frost damage takes time to show effects but if damage is confirmed, farmers are encouraged to contact their local SCIC office with any questions they might have. Source - https://discovermoosejaw.com


Italy - 14,500 kiwi plants devastated by bad weather in Brescia area

After a few days of heavy weather that involved some areas in Northern Italy (the Casalese area in the Lower Piedmont, and the Brescia area for example), the damage count has started. CIA Alessandria technical consultants have followed the activity of the associated companies that have requested support after bad weather. A critical picture emerges, especially in the areas of the municipalities of Sala, Cellamonte, Treville, Rosignano Monferrato, San Giorgio, Ozzano and part of Valcerrina. The area is limited but the consequences are very heavy. As for fruit and vegetables, an early fall of hazelnuts not yet ripened, was recorded. The horticultural productions were instead split by hail, where there was no protection with nets. More affected were melons, peppers, tomatoes and aubergines. In the Brescia area, in Castel Mella, a whirlwind devastated 14,500 kiwi plants, with productions going up in smoke in over 16 hectares. The estimated damage is two million euros. Hail has destroyed entire vegetable greenhouses, especially zucchini. And bad weather has come back to knock on the doors of Northern Italy. Estofex (European Storm Forecast Experiment) issued a level 2 alert for Northern Italy, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Poland due to strong gusts of wind, large hail and storms. Source - https://www.freshplaza.com/


USA - Hailstorm hits central Oregon hemp crops and causes potentially $25 million in damage

A hailstorm hit Oregon hemp farms and causes potentially millions in losses. Severe thunderstorms and golf ball-sized hail hit Central Oregon fields on August 9th. Deschutes County Farm Bureau estimates 400 to 500 acres of hemp farms between Cline Falls and Tumalo were either damaged or destroyed. The losses could reach up to $25 million. Most of the hemp in that area is dedicated to CBD production and planted with feminized seed which averages $1 per seed. The estimate of damages is based on 500 acres at $50,000 per acre. Many are waiting to see how resilient the plant is and what the actual impact will be. While there are methods to help farmers salvage their crops, there is little experience with industrial hemp crops. Most farmers are not ready to give up on their crops yet. Many of the plants had already produced flower, but most were knocked off by the hail. The hail sat about 6 inches on top of the strips of black plastic that were put down as weed barriers in some areas. Since the storm, some farmershave applied soluble seaweed with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium blend at 8 gallons per acre. They expect to see new growth on the plants and are optimistic, but it will be a few weeks before the extent of the damage can be assessed. The more mature plants will likely survive compared to crops planted in July or August. Crop insurance is limited and expensive and most farmers don’t take out insurance. Farmers who leveraged their land to plant hemp this year may end up filing for bankruptcy. Many of the hemp farmers were new to agriculture and didn’t foresee the possible risks. They also didn’t purchase crop insurance because they couldn’t justify the cost. However, hemp being the highest value crop in Oregon, the payout is the highest per acre. Many are hoping that their crops recover and can do nothing but wait and cross their fingers. Source - https://timesofcbd.com


Italy - Farmers hit by extreme weather

NFO reports that Italy has been struck by bad weather once again this season. At the start of this week the fruit cultivation in the regions Bolzano and Merano were hit. 2019 will go down in history as a record year as far as weather conditions are concerned. It is possible that the EU harvest estimate figures for Italy will have to be adjusted down. During Prognosfruit it was announced that there was a lot more hail damage this year compared to last year and there are a lot of little fruits. This will influence the sales. Measurements taken during the downpour in Bolzano showed that 'In less than twenty minutes 27 mm of rain per square metre was dumped on the city.' As well as rainfall, widespread hail storms with stones up to 2cm were registered. The storm was paired with very strong gusts of wind with a maximum speed of almost 75 km per hour. Source - https://www.freshplaza.com

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