- The final amount of the damage to Chile's blueberry crop still awaits to be seen, but a lower yield in packing houses is expected.
In the northern growing regions of Chile the harvest is set to wrap up next week. Harvest volumes are small at this point. The harvest has been longer than usual.
Rain and hail on Dec. 12 in Chile blueberry growing regions damaged up to 10 percent of the crop in some areas but that amounts to a mere dent in the total yield of the higher-than-expected harvest, the Chilean Blueberry Committee said in its weekly crop report.
Even after the unstable weekend climate, the export yield for week 49 reached 5,648 tons, 32.7 percent than the projected yield for the week. Accumulated the season has produced 11,527 tons of the berry, thus nearly 17 percent above estimates from the committee, supplied by fruit analyst firm IQonsulting.
In the northern growing regions the harvest is set to wrap up next week. Harvest volumes are small at this point. The harvest has been longer than usual.
In the central growing region surrounding the capital of Santiago and extending towards the coast, weekend rains were light and did not affect all areas. The harvest is reaching its final phase, being about 75 percent complete and should end in week 52 or 1. The harvest has also been longer than expected in this region.
The central and southern growing regions near Talca received heavy rains and in some parts of Region VIII, hail. This caused fruit awaiting harvest to fall and also cut into the harvest workday last weekend. The varieties that suffered the most damage were O’Neal and Duke as they are the ripest. Next weekend will sill the end of the O´Neal harvest and week 52 the Duke pick will also wrap up.
In Region VII there have been complications in securing the needed labor for the harvest, something that was accentuated by the early harvest peak in this zone.
In the southern growing regions the harvest still awaits. This area suffered the greatest amount of damage from the rain and hail. The weather affected both the fruit and plants. However the damage estimate does not exceed 10 percent in the worst of cases. The final amount of the damage still awaits to be seen, and according to the report a lower yield in packing houses is expected.