Monday 14 October 2019

Hailstones 'size of ping-pong balls' damage vineyard crops

 

The hail also destroyed part of the Saint-Joseph vineyards and reportedly wiped out half of the Croze-Hermitage harvest. Stock photo
The hail also destroyed part of the Saint-Joseph vineyards and reportedly wiped out half of the Croze-Hermitage harvest. Stock photo

Henry Samuel

Storms hurled hailstones the size of ping-pong balls on to crops and vineyards in south-eastern France over the weekend, prompting authorities to declare a state of "natural emergency".

The pellets bored holes through protective netting to hammer the fruit below. The worst-hit area, the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps region, is known as the "orchard of France".

"The sky has fallen on our heads and the year stops here for us," said one fruit grower in Pont-de-l'Isere.

Agriculture minister Didier Guillaume said the state would declare a natural emergency to enable farmers to get insurance payments.

The hail also destroyed part of the Saint-Joseph vineyards and reportedly wiped out half of the Croze-Hermitage harvest, despite it having anti-hail devices.

"In 35 years, I've never seen such violence," said Pierre Combat, president of a wine inspection unit.

Irish Independent

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