Difficulties in Canada: weather events jeopardise the entire 2024 season

14 Feb 2024

The year 2024 is shaping up to be a difficult one for British Columbia's cherry growers, following the adverse weather conditions in early January. The B.C. Cherry Association (BCCA) recently held a membership meeting to review the impacts of the polar vortex that hit last month. In a statement released on Monday, the association's president, Sukhpaul Bal, said that this season is shaping up to be the most difficult ever faced by growers.

Extremely low temperatures have hit the cherry trees hard, which have not had time to adapt to the rapid climate change. In just a few days, temperatures went from above zero to -30°C in some areas, preventing the cherry trees from developing the necessary winter hardiness. The BCCA noted significant damage to the buds of the developing cherry trees due to this sudden drop in temperature.

Following the passage of the polar vortex, farmers started to collect cuttings from their orchards to assess the extent of the damage. The BCCA stated that the analysis of the buds clearly indicated that an unprecedented weather event had occurred, which was bound to affect the cherry harvest to a greater extent than any other past event.

Compared to three years ago, when the heat dome hit the province with record temperatures of 47°C, the BCCA believes that crop losses in 2024 will be much more severe. The association predicts that the effects of this climatic event could extend beyond next season, posing a considerable challenge to the sector.

The BCCA has announced that it plans to meet with provincial and federal government officials in the coming weeks to discuss the difficult situation the agricultural sector is facing. Bal stated that it is still too early to assess the impact on crops in 2025 and beyond, but he specifically mentioned the possibility that trees in the most affected areas may have suffered long-term damage, with the prospect of recovery possibly taking years.

Read the full article: Global News
Video: Global News

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