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Risk events

Italy - Severe hailstorm in Bolzano destroyed apples

On August 6th, the severe hailstorm in Bolzano, north Italy, brought devastative damage to apple orchards. Source - https://www.facebook.com/severeweatherEU


France - Hail hits Rhône valley: 30-40% fewer apricots

Hail storms in the Rhône area in France have caused significant damage to apricots. This is according to Theo Kampschoer of Kampexport. "We had a lot of bad weather about ten days ago. I heard of a walnut farmer in the area who had thousands of his trees blown over. They were thick, 40-year-old trees," Theo says. "You should see what is happening with the apricots. In the Rhône valley, you can write off 30-40% of the apricot harvest. And that is a large area. About half of the Bergeron apricots are grown there." According to Theo, the damage once again proves that growers must have hail nets. "Now, less than 10% of French growers have hail nets. There are, however, farmers who have already suffered massive damage for three years in a row." "Growers with hail nets have considerably less damage. However, it does require an investment that not everyone can afford. This expense is why many farmers try to use subsidies to buy nets," he says. Since the storm, it has become very hot in Southern France. "Last Friday, it was 50 degrees in the full sun. A lot of grapes were scorched where they stood, in the vineyards. I expect the hot weather will affect fruit production," continues Theo. "The nets could also be beneficial against the heat." "Fortunately, there is a high demand for good quality apricots. We are now at the end of the Orange Red apricot season. This is a fantastic variety. If you have them, you cannot sell any other apricots anymore. But, the Bergeval and Bergeron are also good varieties." Source - https://www.freshplaza.com


Australia - Farmer loses six cows in a single lightning strike

A Beaudesert farmer has found six cows lying dead, all in a straight line, after thunderstorms in south-east Queensland. Derek Shirley said there was not a mark on any of them. "There was just a storm, it was a pretty severe storm, there were a few cracks of lightning and thunder and then there was one particularly loud one and that's all we heard," he said. But he did not check the cows until a few days later. "They were blown up by the time we found them," Mr Shirley said. "Our first thought was that they had been poisoned, but they don't just lay in a line like that. "The strike has actually thrown them into the fence, like some of them were through the wires." Mr Shirley estimated the four cows and two calves were worth about $10,000. A blast similar to an explosion ABC science expert Dr Karl Kruszelnicki said he had never seen cattle moved by the force of lightning before. "What astonishes me is their heads are all through the wire, they have been blown there and that is not something I have come across before," he said. "To do that you would need a huge blast of air, because a cow is not an insignificant beast, it is not like a cat weighing three kilograms, you're talking hundreds of kilograms." PHOTO: The cows are theorised to have all suffered a simultaneous heart attack caused by an electric field (Supplied: Derek Shirley) Dr Karl said water expands astronomically when heated and this may have provided the force to push the cows into the fence, but it would not have kill them. "When water heats up and turns into steam it expands in volume by 1,700 times, that's huge," he said. "That would have provided enough of a push to blow the cattle into and sometimes through the fence." Possible simultaneous heart attacks The force of being pushed into the fence isn't what killed the cows according to Dr Karl. His theory is that they suffered simultaneous heart attacks. PHOTO: The cows had an estimated value of $10,000 (Supplied: Derek Shirley) "When the lightning hits the ground you get a spreading of an electric field," he said. "Assuming it happened behind the cattle and they're facing into the fence, at their back legs the electric field is, we'll just have a guess, a million vaults per metre and it weakens and at their front legs say half a million volts a metre. "The electric field goes in through their back legs, through the body and down their front legs and in-between is the heart and they have a heart attack." But for the cows it would have happened very quickly and it's unlikely they would have felt any pain. "Brief instantaneous pain, at the most they would have been conscious for six seconds, and then they'd go unconscious," Dr Karl said. "But almost certainly they would have gone unconscious immediately, so at least they weren't in pain." He also pointed to a case in Dorrigo, New South Wales where 68 dairy cows were killed by a lightning strike in 2005. Dr Karl said this was another example of electric field causing mass heart attacks. Source - http://www.abc.net.au


Map shows extreme weather threats facing wine regions

Researchers reveal how global warming will change what we drink (and could make England and Canada major producers). Researchers investigated how 7,500 regions in 131 countries are affected Two wine regions in Argentina are exposed to the highest risk worldwide Events such as frost, hail, forest fires, earthquakes, drought and floods make the worldwide wine industry lose more than $10 billion every year Climate change will affect the wine industry, with a shift of wine-growing regions southward and northward, and some regions close to the equator lost Every year, the worldwide wine industry suffers losses of more than $10 billion due to extreme weather events and natural disasters such as frost, hail, drought and forest fires. Scientists investigated the extent to which 7,500 wine regions in 131 countries are affected by these events and how climate change affects the wine industry. They've release a global risk index map for wine regions, and found that the wine regions of Mendoza and San Juan in Argentina are exposed to the highest risks worldwide. Map showing a global risk index for wine regions. The wine regions of Mendoza and San Juan in Argentina are exposed to the highest risks worldwide A multidisciplinary European-Australian team of researchers led by Dr James Daniell of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) conducted the study and presented their global risk index map for wine regions at the 2017 Annual Conference of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) in Vienna. Early results of their study reveal that after Mendoza and San Juan in Argentina, the wine regions at highest risk due to extreme weather events are  Kakheti and Racha in Georgia, followed by Southern Cahul in Moldova (number 3), Northwest Slovenia (number 4), and Yaruqui in Ecuador and Nagano in Japan (number 5). The hail losses from 2012 to 2016 in some vineyards totaled 50 to 90 per cent of the value of the crop and caused long-term damage to many old vines According to the researchers, there is no wine region in the world that is not exposed to extreme weather or natural disasters. Events such as frost, hail, forest fires and earthquakes make the worldwide wine industry lose more than $10 billion every year according to conservative estimations. 'Cold waves and frost have a large impact,' said Dr Daniell. He said that hailstorms are one of the largest yearly natural threats to European winemakers, and traditional wine countries like France and Italy have seen huge losses in the past five years due to hail and frost, with many losses being recorded in the regions of Burgundy and Piedmont. Traditional wine countries like France and Italy have seen huge losses in the past five years due to hail and frost, with many losses being recorded in the regions of Burgundy and Piedmont While frost is considered harmful to wine grapes, a type of wine called 'ice wine' relies on frozen grapes to achieve its sweet flavor. Pictured are red grapes covered by frost in Moravia, Czech Republic  The hail losses from 2012 to 2016 in some vineyards totaled 50 to 90 per cent of the value of the crop and caused long-term damage to many old vines. But it's not just Europe that is affected by hail - all over the world, wine-growing regions are affected by at least one hail event per year. According to Dr Daniell, hail nets can save the crops in most cases. 'Cost-benefit analyses generally show that the premium wines should be the ones covered by hail nets, with insurance or other cheaper methods used for other wines,' he said. Earthquakes too can have a major impact and knock out the infrastructure of entire wine regions. The top five wine countries/states at risk of earthquakes are: California, Chile, Japan, Turkey, and Greece and Albania  For example, over 125 million liters of wine were lost in Chile in 2010, mainly due to the failure of steel tanks. 'Earthquake-resistant design could have saved many millions of liters,' Dr Daniell said. A few dollars investment in stabilization mechanisms such as quake wax, which is used to non-permanently stick down small objects to down objects to prevent them from falling during an earthquake, can often save millions of dollars worth of losses. The top five broad wine regions affected by bushfires are: South Africa (Orange River, Olifants River), Portugal (Alentejo, Alto Tras-os-Montes), Chile (Valparaiso, Bio-Bio). Australia (Tumbarumba, Yarra Valley), and Kazakhstan (South) and Moldova Climate change will also have both positive and negative effects on wine industry, according to the study. Researchers expect a shift of wine-growing regions southward and northward, while some regions close to the equator may be lost. 'The English, Canadian, and Northern China wine regions will likely increase production markedly and continue to improve their market share and quality of production,' said Dr Daniell. The researchers expect that many wineries will master climate changes by changing grape varieties and using innovative technologies to improve production and reduce damage due to pathogens and extreme weather events. Map showing grape wine production in liters per year. The countries that product the largest volumes of wine  include France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, the US, Chile, China and Australia  THE GLOBAL THREATS TO WINE The top 5 biggest wine producers and their main threats: Italy - 4.9 billion liters - hail, frost and earthquake (although volcano, flash flood, flood and climatic effects also can play a role). France - 4.2 billion liters - Frost, hail, storm Spain – 3.8 billion liters – NW Hail, Frost, Heat United States – 2.25 billion liters (2016, OIV) – Frost, Earthquake, Storm Australia – 1.25 billion liters – Frost, Storm, Hail, Bushfire The researchers also studied other risks facing the wine industry, such as bushfires, which cause smoke to taint vines, and they're exploring the effects of floods too. The top five broad wine regions affected by bushfires are: South Africa (Orange River, Olifants River), Portugal (Alentejo, Alto Tras-os-Montes), Chile (Valparaiso, Bio-Bio). Australia (Tumbarumba, Yarra Valley), and Kazakhstan (South) and Moldova. They said that the major volcanic eruption would likely cause the largest global impact to the wine industry. 'Through detailed natural hazard analysis, research can help winemakers and governments alike to prepare adequately for the natural hazards that they face and to reduce losses,' Dr Daniell said. Source - www.dailymail.co.uk


Italy - Hailstorms between Veneto and Marche regions

Not a very happy Easter for the fresh produce sector. After months of drought and temperatures above the seasonal average, a heavy storm damaged a wide area between the Veneto and the Marche regions. Damaged radicchio in Chioggia (source Gbp) Damage has been reported from Chioggia to Pesaro passing through Bologna, Ravenna and Cesena. Hail and wind but, most of all, heavy rain, damaged both fruit (mainly apricots and strawberries) and vegetables such as radicchio, spinach and onions. Giuseppe Boscolo Palo, president of the Consorzio del Radicchio di Chioggia, reported that "everything started in the lagoon with a watersprout. Then hail affected the area between the Brenta and Adige rivers, damaging early radicchio." "10% of the produce has been discarded in the areas only partially affected, so the rest is only going to be worse. I talked to a few producers who said 30% of the produce has been damaged." Near Medicina (Bologna), wind and hail damaged onion crops and the hills around Imola, renowned for their apricot production, also reported damage. Castel San Pietro, Budrio, Castenaso, Crevalcore and Granarolo were affected by the hailstorm as well, just like Palata di Crevalcore, Decima di San Giovanni in Persiceto, Castello d'Argile and Pieve di Cento In the Ferrara area, the hailstorm hit the Codigoro area. Technician Alessandro Passerini reports a heavy hailstorm in the low Ferrara area towards the coast (Bondeno, Cento and Renazzo municipalities). Anti-hail net full of hailstones. Right, kiwi branches broken by the force of the wind (up to 85 km/h) in the low Cesena area  In Ravenna, the hailstorm hit in some areas while sparing others. The area towards the sea was affected as well as Casola Valsenio on the hills, as reported by Fabio Pesci from Condifesa Ravenna. In Cesena, it hailed at 11 pm and after midnight and stones were as big as walnuts. Andrea Ferrini, president of Condifesa FC-RN, reports that both the Forlì and Cesena provinces were affected. Strawberries damaged by the hail in Gambettola. The damage can be fully assessed only 24-48 hours after the event  Producers Massimo Brunelli from east Cesena showed us his damaged nectarines. Luckily, a couple of days ago, he had installed the anti-hail nets on two hectares of Pink Lady apples. His neighbour's apricot orchard was heavily damaged. In Gambettola, uncovered strawberry crops were also heavily damaged. In addition, Consorzio Agrario Adriatico Luca Molinari and Andrea Rossi explained that the strong wind broke young kiwi trees.  Christian Zavalloni, producer from the lower Cesena area, showed us various hectares of spinach which had to be harvested between 18th and 20th April. "Unfortunately the leaves are macerated and there is nothing we can do." Spinach ready to be harvested damaged by the hailstorm  "Onions were also affected but, being late crops, it will be possible to recover the production. The hailstones even pierced the non-woven fabric, while the wind knocked over the bins and crates in various warehouses." Non-woven fabric pierced by the hailstones What is more, in addition to the damage, producers need to spend more money to treat fruit against Monilia to prevent the spreading of the fungus on apricot, peach and other products. Hailstorms were reported also in the lower Rimini area as far as Pesaro. The weather forecast for the next few days talk about further drops in temperature. Source - www.freshplaza.com


South Africa - Devastating hail and wind storms hit Tzaneen orchards

Outside Tzaneen in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, a severe wind storm swept through banana and avocado orchards late in the afternoon on Wednesday 25 January, laying waste to large parts of banana orchards and snapping tall eucalyptus trees. Wind speeds reached 37 knots (69km/h). Trees that had escaped the wind, were then pounded by a hail storm. This was followed by 160mm of rain over the next 24 hours which will, at least, increase the dam levels of the Tzaneen Dam, officially only 23% full. Bananas were worst hit, with huge devastation in plantings in the area, according to Joachim Prinsloo, chair of the South African Banana Growers Association. Francois Vorster of the Mahela Group estimates that about 95ha of his bananas on Inzana farm suffered at least 70% damage. He also suffered damage to his avocados. André Ernst of Allesbeste Boerdery says that there was “enormous damage” to his own 30ha of bananas and those on other farms that lay in the path of the two converging storms. His farm concentrates on avocado production which will be less affected as the harvest is four to five months away. Fruit on top of the trees will have been most damaged; early estimates are based on those at eye level, but Ernst reckons that there could be 40 to 50% losses on his avocado exports. Hail-damaged fruit will probably be downgraded and sold on the local market for processing. Recovery from damage to banana trees will take longer. Trees that were snapped will take at least a year to regrow. There was also significant damage to buildings and the power infrastructure. “There are definitely more such weather events than in the past. People say they’ve never seen anything like it,” says Vorster. In 2010 a hail storm completely wiped out the avocado harvest from the area. Source - http://www.freshplaza.com


Italy - Heavy damage to grape region in Puglia due to snow

In recent days, an enormous amount of snow fell in the Italian grape region of Puglia. Preliminary estimates report that over 300 hectares of grape plantations were lost because constructions and plants collapsed under the weight of the snow. Lucien de Wit from Luba Fresh sent us the following photos: Source - http://www.freshplaza.com


Italy - Abnormal cold front in the south

The cold front that hit Italy, and southern Italy in particular (mainly Puglia and Basilicata and Calabria and Campania to a lesser extent), was extremely abnormal and unexpected. Temperatures dropped to -8°C. According to Coldiretti Puglia, the worst situation was registered in the Taranto and Foggia areas, were farmers had to use their own equipment to clean the roads in order to reach their crops. In the meantime, winter vegetables were damaged by the frost and heating costs in greenhouses and stables have skyrocketed. Citrus groves were also damaged, although the extent may only be assessed over the next few days, provided that weather conditions improve. Table grape vineyards collapsed under the weight of the snow, even in the areas closest to the sea. Confagricoltura Taranto reports that vegetables and citrus fruit are the most affected by the low temperatures, even though greenhouse crops are also being affected by the heavy snowfall. Growers in this area cultivate around 90% of the clementines as well as most of the oranges produced in this region. Strong winds also compromised crops, especially in the Foggia area. Agro di Castellaneta Beets and cabbage in Castellaneta and Ginosa are completely covered in snow. "It's impossible to move even with off-road vehicles, there are over 60-70 cm of snow. Damage will be consistent if the temperatures continue to drop," reports a producer. Another producer refers to preparing citrus groves for the winter with particular treatments already in November. "Plants may have been damaged nonetheless, as these temperatures are abnormal and haven't been increasing. It will be possible to make an assessment only when the situation will improve." Many supporting structures, nets and covers have been damaged due to the weight of the snow. "Nobody expected a situation like this, some greenhouses have collapsed. Our kiwi orchard has collapsed due to the weight of the snow." Artichokes not doing better "Artichoke crops will take at least 60 days to become productive again and, if temperatures remain low, even 80-90 days. Then we may have to produce only for the processing industry and at low prices, with no profit whatsoever for the rest of the year." Metapontino Entrepreneur Carmela Suriano reports that "we hadn't seen such low temperatures in Basilicata and Puglia for decades. We are assessing how they have affected the crops, though it is still early, as things are expected to get worse over the next few days. Arboreal plants are normally more resistant to low temperatures, though the fact that they are remaining so low may constitute a problem." "While it is true that we had to deal with frost in the past, it never lasted this long. Even though strawberries are located in polytunnel-greenhouses, the first blossoming is definitely lost. We usually start harvesting around 20th January, but now we will have to wait for mid-February or early March. Open-field vegetables have been completely destroyed." Producers worried for fennel "The situation is particularly worrying because frost is affecting all the regions where fennel is produced at the same time. I have never seen anything like this," comments a producer. "Frost is a real problem for fennel, as it marks the vegetables and may even make them impossible to harvest. This is what worries producers the most. We will know more in the next few days." "At the moment, Calabria and Piana del Sele seem to be the areas least affected, while Puglia and Metapontino are the ones enduring the worst conditions. We would need some good weather, but forecasts have predicted a short truce followed by a new cold front." Forecasts up to January 17th As reported on tempoitalia.it, a cold front from the Balkans (currently experiencing temperatures between -20 and -30°C) is expected. Source - http://www.freshplaza.com


Australia - SA growers severely affected by fires

There are more than 300 growers in South Australia were severely hit by bushfires in November 2015. About $40 million of crops are thought to have been lost in the blaze which today continues to inflict catastrophic damages to country`s agriculture. As a result of the fire, over 120,000 tonnes of crop were lost and total 87,500 ha of agricultural land were burned down, as of December 1, 2015. Australian government officially reported the following livestock losses - 15939 sheep, 53654 poultry, 500 pigs, 87 cows/cattle, 16 horses, 3 alpacas. Media reported - over 2000 pigs lost in fires. Around 15,000 pigs were saved from fires, though. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] Photo by - abc.net.au[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] Farmers at Stockport clear way dead sheep after the bushfire. (ABC News: Michael Coggan)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] Livestock were injured and killed in the fire. (Photo by -ABC.com.au)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="551"] Flames can still be seen in a Freeling hayshed, two days after the bushfires. (ABC News: Patrick Rocca)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="551"] The remains of farm machinery near Stockport in South Australia after bushfire. (ABC News: Michael Coggan)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] Grain still burning at Stockport, two days after the main firefront. (ABC News: Michael Coggan)[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] Burnt out farm machinery at Freeling. (ABC News: Vassil Malandris)[/caption] Source - http://www.agroinsurance.com


USA - October freeze burns tobacco farmers in Surry County

Mother nature seemed to have conspired against Surry County tobacco farmers this year, with freezing temperatures Saturday and Sunday landing the final blow. Phillip Cave, a fifth generation farmer who with his son, farms about 50 acres of tobacco in Elkin and Dobson, said the trouble leading up to an $80,000 loss started months ago. “The whole story of this crop is extreme drought in May, June and July put the crop behind,” he said. Then came October’s rain. From Sept. 25 to Oct. 4 the crop couldn’t be harvested. “We had to sit in the house and watch the rain,” Cave said. “I could have gotten it done in three days.” When the rain finally did stop, Cave got busy with the harvest. “I heard the ice was coming,” Phillip Cave said. “I worked my hind end off.” Laborers worked 17 hours that Saturday. Cave didn’t get home until 2:30 a.m. “We don’t ever work crops on Sunday but we did this year,” he said. Cave did get about 11,000 pounds of tobacco harvested before the temperature dropped. The rest? “It’s ruined,” Cave said. “Tobacco can handle a frost. It can’t handle a freeze.” The frostbitten leaves won’t cure correctly. “They won’t take the heat, it won’t yellow,” he said. The stems bend instead of breaking, which means they can’t be separated from the leaves during processing. “You can’t hide it,” he said. Insurance issues Cave wasn’t the only farmer to be affected by the cold snap. “We have had several losses reported,” said John Petree, owner of Foothills Insurance, a crop insurance agency based in Rural Hall. But Cave’s extra work harvesting the crop may hurt him. Although about six miles separate the tracts of land where Cave had harvested the tobacco before the frost and where it remained exposed in the field, they are listed under the farm serial number with the Farm Service Agency and so are considered one farm for insurance purposes. Cave couldn’t claim a loss. “I missed the whole state fair and still lost 70-80 thousand dollars,” Cave said, noting that he missed out on watching his kids show cattle — and his Hereford bull be named grand champion. Low demand, low prices When the farmer got his harvest to market, the tobacco company gave Cave a lower grade than he thought it was worth, offering him $1.40 a pound instead of about $2 per pound. “That’s not a fair price,” he said, blaming markets so flooded by low demand and an increase in foreign imports with making tobacco companies unable to pay a fair price for their contracts. And so, the buyers are assigning lower grades to higher quality tobacco as a way to drive the already low price down further. Demand was so low at the beginning of the season that Cave’s son, Preston, could not even get a contract to grow conventional tobacco. Preston Cave, a December 2014 graduate of N.C. State University, chose to grow organic tobacco for his first crop. Along with the higher demand and higher price for organic tobacco comes more work — and greater risk. With his crop also uninsured, “I lost about $8,000 Monday morning,” said Cave, who is getting married on Nov. 7. The year hadn’t been a good one for the Caves’ farming operation as a whole. Phillip Cave said his laying hens were picked up three weeks early, and that the drought hurt other crops such as corn and soybeans. “I don’t even want to walk into the soybean field,” he said. Preston said Brazil opening its markets to exports has driven cattle prices down as well as tobacco. But with the debt ratio lower on tobacco, that loss hurt the most. “Tobacco pays the bills,” Phillip Cave said. “It didn’t this year.” Admittedly still in shock from the frost loss, Phillip Cave said, “I’m thinking about selling. I didn’t tell him that yet,” pointing to his son. Preston Cave said he didn’t know if he would continue to farm the crop. “Do you stay here and take losses for four or five years or try to move on to something else?” The father and son had planned long term to use tobacco profits to expand their cattle operation. “That’s what we both love to do,” he said. Phillip Cave said, “We both love growing tobacco too. But not this year.” “There’s no guarantees in farming,” Preston Cave said. “We’re just gamblers. Gambling to feed the world.” Source - http://mtairynews.com


Georgia - Vineyards hit severely by hail

In Georgia on May 29 in Khornabuji village of Kakheti hail caused significant damage to local vineyards. Source - www.agroinsurance.com Georgia - Vineyards hit severely by hail


Ukraine - Drought at the East of Ukraine, winter wheat suffers

Experts conducted surveys of winter wheat at the East of Ukraine. They established impact of drought. The soil does not have the sufficient amount of moisture which can be the reason of crop kill. At the second decade of May the farmer reported that crops started to perish at some

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