Farmers are working non-stop. We need to save the iceberg lettuce crop. It is the only production left in all of Europe, as the low temperatures have practically ravaged all the crops in the places where it's grown. "Right now, its price is soaring in the markets because the only product left is the one that is cultivated in Murcia, Alicante, and Almeria. We are working to prevent the cold we expect this week from damaging the iceberg lettuce farms," stated the president of the Coordinator of Organizations of Farmers and Livestock of Lorca, Placido Perez.
"Despite the price, producers are placing thermal blankets. Not only is the material with which the crops are covered very expensive, but producers must also pay for labor, and the bags must be filled with soil to strategically position them so that the cold doesn't affect the crops," he stated.
Producers in the Region of Murcia are very worried about the upcoming mornings. In Cieza, the development of the stone fruit varieties is on hold. There is no flowering, and the flowers that have frozen are from extra-early fruit and only account for 4 or 5% of the region's total production," stated Miguel Angel Piñera, the president of Coag Cieza.
According to Antonio Moreno, the Secretary of Agriculture of UPA Murcia, stone fruit producers have suspended the thinning of the trees.
During the last few nights, producers have carried out night waterings to create ice igloos to protect the flower. However, the expenditure on water and the lack of provisions forces them to use other alternatives. Producers are also using windmills that generate 180-degree hot air currents to displace the cold air masses of the field. Finally, they are igniting paraffin, a product that has doubled its price in two years and that is now paid at 12 euros.
The entire municipality of Lorca is getting ready to face the intense cold expected for these days. Fortunately, the frost has given us a truce in recent nights. "The temperatures are no longer below freezing, and there is no ice on the ground. However, we expect an incessant cold for several days. The sun won't warm things up. We are very concerned that if the cold does not subside, the artichoke crops will be damaged."
Most of the artichoke plantations are seriously affected. "There won't be a new harvest until well into March," the president of Coag de Lorca stated. Despite being more resistant to low temperatures, broccoli crops have been affected in some areas. The cold has also slowed down their growth, so there is some shortage in the markets.
Piñera says they won't breathe easy until after mid-February.