Agro Pontino (Lazio)

Italy: Storms and freeze hit crops

Winter has arrived in Italy as temperatures drop and snow falls in the mountains. This caused some problems especially in the South, but nothing too worrying. Sabaudia e Piverno (Lazio) though hit by a real hailstorm, which left 10 cm of ice on the ground causing viability problems and damaging crops.


(Photo: meteoweb.eu)

"Because of the drop in temperatures in the last period, production slowed down a bit. In particular, the tornadoes of the past week affected 6-7 hectares of greenhouses (both empty and those with cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes), where plastic was torn apart, ducts were damaged and structures were bended. In open fields, hail damaged dark courgette crops," says Silvio Pecorella, production manager of Centro Lazio, a producer cooperative located in Sabaudia.

We have not assessed the damage yet, but we will have to deal with the loss in production as well as structural damage. "In addition, diseases increase when it rains a lot. At the moment we are fighting against downy mildew, which is affecting tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers."

"November was pretty warm and it rained a lot, so the cold of these mornings will definitely damage open field crops. Just consider that it snowed in the mountains. As regards greenhouses, early ripening will be balanced out in standard times. It is difficult to make an assessment, but we can say that salad (lettuce and endive) were deeply affected, as diseases like Botrytis and rot can easily penetrate through the cracks caused by the freeze. As regards brassicas, warm temperatures in November modified the cycles a little bit," explains Alessandro Caraffa, sales promoter of Enza Zaden Italia.

"According to one of the operators in the Agro Pontino, the prices of the vegetables are changing, which might mean there is not a lot of produce in Europe, so we might lead the market in some sectors," continues Caraffa.

The situation is different in other areas, explains a producer from Tarquinia. "Luckily, everything is fine where we are. At the moment we are harvesting cauliflowers and fennel and any problems are due, not so much to the drop in temperatures, but rather to the fact that they were high up until a few days ago." The sales trend is not ideal at the moment.

Marco Tiozzo from the Orto-Sole cooperative in Torrimpietra confirms it: "the real damage currently derives by the sales conditions, as prices and purchases are really low while costs increased. For example, we have seven platforms in Sardinia and use ships everyday of the year, so we have been deeply affected by the rise in transport costs. After the Cleopatra hurricane, unfortunately for Sardinian producers, things are a little better because there is more demand for produce from the mainland."

"There were some problems also for protected crops because of the strong winds, which torn the plastic off some greenhouses, but luckily there was no serious damages. We will have to see whether or not bad weather will continue. The warm temperatures of last week actually caused more damage, as crops are 20-30 days in advance. We are now harvesting cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli, which should have been ready in a month! In addition, there are now wrinkles and insects have proliferated."

Source: FreshPlaza / leggo.it

Publication date:



Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here


Other news in this sector:


Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber