Sales of stone fruit seedlings during the winter were somewhat better this year, although farmers are still cautious when choosing varieties, taking into account the price shocks affecting the sector in recent years. The Spanish stone fruit harvest has already started, about four days in advance due to the low rainfall during spring and a mild winter that will contribute to quality production.
"We have slightly increased the sales of stone fruit with respect to the previous year, although they are still low compared to seasons prior to the crisis", says Rosa Hernandorena, commercial director of Viveros Hernandorena, which specializes in the sale of early varieties, as much as mid-season and late varieties in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and, recently, also in Greece.
Peaches and nectarines are the species which are selling the most, while sales of "flat peaches and apricots have declined in recent seasons, since in general, they still need to improve the varietal selection to complete the calendar", she points out.
According to Rosa Hernandorena, farmers continue to opt for varieties that are already consolidated in the market and avoid taking risks. "Newly selected varieties are gradually being planted, but not at the same pace as in previous years due to the low price profitability suffered by the stone fruit sector, which means it cannot afford to make mistakes".
Although productivity, calibre or skin colour continue to be important, the search for varieties that above all provide flavour is coming to the fore, according to the specialist.
"The market response makes it clear that we have to focus on planting fruit trees with good taste qualities and high levels of Brix degrees, especially in early varieties. It is important to be able to close the cycle and have flavoursome varieties at the end and at the beginning of the season".
On April 26, Hernandorena will begin guided technical visits of its Catalogue Field (Campo Catálogo) in Benimodo, Valencia, an early crop area to show farmers their wide range of fruit varieties, which this season will focus mainly on measuring Brix degrees, with the selection of sweeter and tastier varieties.
In addition to showing its varieties catalogue, the Valencian company also wants to show farmers trends in the improvement of farming techniques, such as high density production systems and emphasizing the adaptability of patterns and efficiency in irrigation and nutrition frequency using probes and lysimeters. At the end of the season they will reveal all their varieties’ results and Brix degree data.
Tel: 34 96 253 26 81