Winter Storm Benji swept through the deep south of the United States late last week, bringing snow and freezing rain to parts of the country normally known for their subtropical climate. Areas in the deep south of Texas experienced snow while central and northern Florida saw temperatures approaching freezing. The wintery conditions also stretched south into parts of Mexico.
For growers, it was mainly a rare visual treat as temperatures were not low enough to sustain any major damage. The snow melted quickly as ground temperatures were not cold enough for the snow to accumulate.
More than 600 hectares of crops were totally lost because of last weekend's frost, in which temperatures dropped down to -15 degrees Celsius, said Adolfo Bonilla Gomez, the head of the Secretariat of the Field (Secampo) of Zacatecas. According to the first evaluations carried out by personnel from Secampo, the event affected fruit and vegetable crops in the south and southeast of the state.
The largest losses were recorded in the production of guava. More than 200 hectares of this crop in various municipalities were affected, as well as 100 hectares of lettuce and broccoli.
Bonilla Gomez said that they carried out evaluations to verify the damages and that they would monitor fruit trees, such as vine or peach, in the next few days to determine if they had also been affected.
He also said that the spring-summer vegetative cycle in the areas where it had rained had ended weeks ago, so they had not been affected. However, he added, there were minor effects on vegetables and fruit trees of the producers who work with irrigation, who had planted their crops late, or who work in protected agriculture.
Finally, severe damage occur also in tomato plantations from Coahuila, San Luis Potosi and Durango states all in the Mexican High Plateau. A rise in tomato prices are expected to happen in the short period although no production shortage is expected. For more information on how can you expand your Agribusiness from or to Latin America, ask FGH´s International Agribusiness, Latin America's leading Agribusiness Consulting firm