Rising Temperatures Worry Czech Fruit and Vegetable Growers

This year’s unusually warm weather is causing concerns for fruit and vegetable farmers in the Czech Republic. The primary worry is the potential for early spring frosts, which newly awakened trees or planted crops would have to face. Weather fluctuations can also affect prices.

Early varieties of apricots in South Moravia bloomed at the end of February this year. According to previous observations, the earliest flowering usually occurred in mid-March during the warmest years. “The greater the annual risk, the more unusual this year’s weather development is. Our vegetable growers were in the fields in mid-February, some early vegetables got to the fields up to three weeks earlier,” Alice Kouřilová, spokeswoman for the Vegetable Union of Bohemia and Moravia, told Novinky.

As plants are already in more advanced stages of growth, they can be more sensitive to potential frost. “Head cabbage and other brassicas began to be planted at the end of March, usually only in April,” Kouřilová added. Early types of vegetables could be particularly damaged.

One traditional scare for farmers is drought. Recent high temperatures have significantly increased water evaporation. Martin Ludvík, chairman of the Fruit Union, said that the risk to the harvest is enormous. Apricots can get cold even at temperatures around the freezing point, and over the following days, they drop and do not ripen. It’s not the classical freezing but the chilling of the fruits that stop their development.

Last year, average prices of some types of vegetables reached record highs. For example, onions rose to 40 crowns per kilogram, and a similar price tag was applied to carrots. In the spring of last year, a kilo of salad cucumbers cost an unprecedented 78 Kč and peppers over 130 crowns.