Frosts likely to impact fruit harvests at home and abroad

Growers representatives say recent frosts are likely to impact on UK fruit yield this season, though it is too soon to quantify the extent of this.

Image: Eric Hoffmann (CC BY ND 2.0)
Image: Eric Hoffmann (CC BY ND 2.0)

NFU horticulture & potatoes board chairman and West Midlands apple grower Ali Capper said: "The impact has been widespread, from top and stone fruit to vines and even blackcurrants. One grower has told me his plums have basically had it."

She explained: "You can see the damage but you don't know how much would have naturally thinned. On our own farm we sampled every orchard and found about 50% affected. But we will have to wait until fruit set to know the effect on yield."

She pointed out that worse frosts on the European continent, including its biggest apple grower, Poland, mean alternative sources for fruit may be lacking, so pushing up prices.

British Growers Association chief executive Jack Ward said: "There's been damage but it's uncertain how much. There is probably a spectrum of damage across growing areas.

"It's been a phenomenal year for blossom so quite a lot of thinning would have been needed anyway. The frost may infact have made that more manageable. But the dry weather hasn't helped. Cold and dry is not good if you're planting either."

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