Thursday, May 6, 2010

Windstorm damages south Florida avocado crop

Excerpts from an article in The Packer by Doug Ohlemeier published on 05/03/2010

Growers say a late April windstorm may have damaged a portion of south Florida's early avocado crop. An April 26 storm brought high winds exceeding 50 mph and thunder and lightning that blew an undetermined amount of small fruit off trees, grower-shippers said.

Bill Brindle, vice president of sales management for Brooks Tropicals Inc., Homestead, Fla., said growers would likely have a better idea of possible by damage by the end of May, when light harvesting normally begins.He said it’s hard to estimate the percentage of damage caused to the pinhead-sized fruit but said growers are still expecting a good-sized crop.

“This was one of those storm systems that moves through in April,” he said in early May. “But this one was particularly strong. We are in the middle of our fruit set period and have lots of small fruit and flowers that are about to turn into fruit. Both those could be easily destroyed by winds of that magnitude.” Brindle said he expects the crop to be a little less than initially estimated.

The Florida Avocado Administrative Committee, Homestead, is forecasting a 1 million bushel crop, up from the 929,127-pound crop produced in 2009-10, which ended shipments in March.Though Florida growers typically start harvesting their large green-skinned avocados in late May, commercial volumes normally ramp up by mid-June with promotable volumes usually hitting in early July.