Harvest preview: The latest news from SVZ’s Spanish strawberry fields
The strawberry harvest peak season is approaching in Huelva, Spain, and we know how important it is for our customers to stay updated with the latest crop news, directly from our partners in the fields. The weather has presented some challenges since planting in September last year, but we’re excited to see what the spring season holds. Keep reading for all of the latest insights and predictions!
The ‘dry’ challenge
This year, Spanish fields face a major challenge: water availability for irrigation. As a Mediterranean country, Spain can be particularly affected by very dry weather, and this has a substantial impact on crops. Unfortunately, last autumn the country experienced a period without significant rainfall and the Spanish government limited the use of water for agricultural activity by 25%. This restriction may increase up to 40% or 50%, depending on the precipitation rate during spring.
Managing fluctuating temperatures
The planting stage kicked off during very hot weather, with temperatures reaching 37ºC and above between mid-September and late October. These weather conditions bring both good and bad news for strawberry growers: on the one hand they can boost plant growth, on the other, high temperatures can put significant stress on strawberry crops – reducing root development. This may result in weak plants, which are not able to survive the cold winter period. Fortunately, thanks to the skilful work of experienced partner farmers and growers, plant mortality was lower than expected.
One of the main consequences of this premature plant development was a “boom” in growth over the festive season. As soon as temperatures dropped a few days later, however, the plants’ metabolism started to slow down, and strawberry production decreased considerably.
Throughout January and February, temperatures remained cool which resulted in lower volumes compared to 2022. The good news is that the quality of our Spanish strawberries remains very high.
As we approach the second half of March, we expect the weather to become more clement – with a transition from cooler to warmer temperatures, as well as more frequent rainfall. Our prediction for the coming months is that growth will be boosted by warmer temperatures during the night, which will ensure a strong start to our strawberry picking season.
SVZ’s team of agronomists is constantly in contact with our local strawberry specialists to obtain crop updates as early as possible. Should any important developments happen, we will be in touch directly with our customers. In the meantime, enjoy the gentle awakening of nature during springtime and keep an eye out for exquisite strawberry ingredients coming your way soon!