Spain: Snow and hail for cucumber growers in Motril

Last Saturday, a combination of a snow and hail storm hit several cucumber greenhouses in Motril, Spain. According to Cees Ammerlaan of Nunhems, no companies have collapsed, but snow and hail did enter some growing operations. 

Ammerlaan visited several greenhouse last week, the bad weather arrived just after he left the area of Motril. 

Motril is well known for its production of cucumbers. Each year the growers plant about 1000 hectare. According to Ammerlaan, the cultivation in the Spanish greenhouses is less intensive compared to Dutch standards, but the sector is thriving. 

"When you visit a Spanish cucumber greenhouse, you will see a lot of fruit in the crop, but the cultivation in slow. In the Netherlands you will see less cucumbers, but the production is faster."

Ammerlaan doesn't know if the cucumber production in Motril will be affected by the snow and hail of last weekend. "In November, the growers in El Ejido, Almeria, were hit by heavy wind and hail. You still see some collapsed greenhouse structures in this area, but all together it is not even one percent of the total acreage. The growers are learning to deal with situations like this." 

According to Ammerlaan, also stronger varieties are helping Spanish growers to survive this kind of situation. "We are offering stronger crops nowadays, varieties that are better armed against colder weather. When a situation like this occurs, the crop is not easily affected by the cold and the cultivation can continue without too much damage."

One of the other things Ammerlaan noticed during his visit, was the ongoing development in the Spanish greenhouses. "Nowadays more and more growers are using additional heating in their greenhouses and also the use of growing media is not an exception. There are even growers that are using an additional plastic screens during the colder months, to insulate their greenhouse better. 

Photos courtesy of Cees Ammerlaan, Nunhems 

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