‘I’ve lost acres of strawberries to this weather' - Farmer says he's lost €200,000 worth of fruit in the recent conditions
While hot weather has been welcomed by many, it has meant havoc for fruit growers and, in particular, has had a hugely detrimental effect on a Wexford favourite – the strawberry.
With temperatures remaining in the mid to high 20s for the past number of weeks, strawberry plants have suffered and growers are struggling to get fruit picked before it spoils.
Jimmy Kearns, of Kearns Fruit Farm in Curraghgraigue, Enniscorthy, told the Wexford People that the weather, although pleasant for many, was a disaster for strawberries, explaining the berries were ripening too quickly and had no great size when they did.
He said it was taking three times as long as usual to pick the fruit.
“It’s just too hot. The ideal temperature for strawberries is about 18 or 19 degrees. If you hit high temperatures for long periods of time, the plant goes into distress and it just won’t grow any more.”
He explained that he had to abandon about eight acres of fruit – around 140,000 plants – in favour of berries that were easier and quicker to pick.
In total, he believes he has lost around €200,000 worth of fruit in the recent conditions.
The summer strawberry picking season normally lasts about five to six weeks but Jimmy said that fruit was ripening too quickly in the conditions and that period was, effectively, being condensed into a two-week picking period which, he said was tough on fruit pickers.