Serious damage to blueberry orchards in the Ñuble region was caused by the frost recorded on October 31. Losses in some orchards reach 100% of production, depending on location and varieties, which means, in practice, the end of the season for them.
And although the frost also affected some crops, such as corn and potatoes, the greatest damage is observed in blueberries, the main export fruit in the region.
Álvaro Gatica, blueberry producer and vice president of the Ñuble Farmers Association, said that the damage is observed in plantations both in the valley and in the foothills, "mainly from Route 5 to the east, between Longaví and Cabrero." Likewise, he indicated that the frost fundamentally affected three varieties, which are precisely the most planted in the area: Brightwell, Legacy, and Duke.
“In my case, for example, in some sectors, I have a 100% loss, with Brightwell and Legacy varieties, in Capilla Cox; as well as with other varieties, such as Duke, in which there has been damage, but less, of 50-60%," acknowledged Gatica.
“The loss is not minor, it is quite large, there are people very affected, many farmers. Unfortunately, this happened and we were not prepared, because there was no forecast announcing frost, and it was by sectors, for example, in Cato and Coihueco it was affected very strongly. Some producers who have one or two varieties, precisely the most affected, have a 100% loss; others, with more varietal diversification, have partial losses, but also very important ones,” he indicated.