, François-Xavier Branthôme
- 2017 Season
Very marked weather contrasts across the Mediterranean Basin
In several countries of the Mediterranean basin, the harvest began several days earlier than usual and quickly reached its full functioning. Extreme heat waves, droughts or exceptional precipitation events in Spain, Italy, Portugal or Greece, as the case may be, could have an impact on the final results, which is difficult to assess today. According to the available information, current AMITOM processing estimates amount to 16.3 million metric tonnes, up 265,000 mT (1.7%) from the final result reached in 2016.
The information collected from the various national delegations by AMITOM are presented below.
It was very hot in June and some fields were damaged by the heat. Yields were expected to be very high but it may not be the case now and some fields look beyond expectations and some under so it is difficult to make a precise forecast. The volume is now estimated between 1.5 and 1.6 million tonnes. Some factories started on Monday 17 July and all should open by Monday 24 July: this is the earliest start ever.
The campaign started in Andalucía on the 4th July and all factories got quickly at full capacity. Quality and colour are good and the yields are the usual ones for the early tomato in the area. We estimate that about 110,000 tonnes have been delivered by the 15th July.
In Extremadura, the campaign is a bit early. Most factories are starting this week or the beginning of the next and a quick start up is also expected.
In the Ebro valley, the campaign will start about the 8th of August.
It is soon to evaluate the possible impact of the extreme heat wave of June in the late tomatoes. Some apical rotting has been noticed but in general the crop looks good and no other special incidences have been reported. We keep our forecast of 3.2 million tonnes.
Factories started on 19 July in the south-east which is slightly early but not too much considering the situation. In the south-west harvest should start around 5-10 August. There is not much to report apart from some late blight developing in the south-west despite weather conditions which should not favour it. The forecast remains unchanged.
In the north, the reduction of between 6 and 7% of the surfaces and of the forecast is confirmed. Some factories opened this week with specialities and cherry tomatoes but most companies will start next week with all plants expected to have opened by 28 July. There is no data yet on quality or yield, but fields look good, with no diseases, and a normal crop is expected. The smaller surface planted reduces the water needs and no shortage is expected.
In the south, a 7.4% reduction of the surface planted was confirmed by the official measure. Last weekend, a hailstorm damaged 200 hectares in the Basilicata region where late crop is grown. 15 factories started last week with cherry tomatoes and some this week with long tomatoes and by early August full capacity should be reached, earlier than usual. To date, the quality seems good with higher yields than last year. There is still a question mark on the effect of the heatwave on the late crop. Despite water availability in the reservoir, the lack of rain for several weeks may cause some issues with water, although less than in the north.
The total forecast for Italy is reduced to 4.9 million tonnes due to lower final surfaces and lower expected yields.
The country has experienced the worst ever weather conditions with repeated heatwaves and intervals of very strong rain (up to 113 mm) with some hailstorms (mainly in the centre/north on 23 June). A further 20,000 tonnes has been lost reducing the forecast further to 410,000 tonnes. One factory in the south had a few start-stops and all will start by the end of July to early August.
Outside the EU
The season started last week in the south, earlier than usual, but with some stops due to poor quality (poor colour, sunburns and low brix). Most factories in the south are now open or will be by the end of the week. Some factories in the north will start next week with tomatoes trucked from the south. It will be a slow start. On 18 July, 2,000 hectares of fields, including 500 hectares of tomatoes (2% of the planted surface) were damaged by hail. It is too early to fully estimate the damage and some surfaces may recover so the total estimate remains unchanged at 2 million tonnes.
The total surface planted with tomatoes this year was 14,060 hectares against 15,400 hectares in 2016. A total production of 850,000 tonnes is expected, of which 550,000 tonnes for the production of paste, for a volume of double concentrate expected at 90,000 tonnes, and 20,000 tonnes for the production of 13,000 tonnes of canned tomatoes. The price of tomatoes is 59 €/t delivered. As of 18 July, it was estimated that 65% of the surface had been harvested with 362,000 tonnes processed. All the 26 factories are now operating. The harvest is now over in the Kairouan region but it continues in the other regions with about 20,000 tonnes delivered daily to the factories.
The forecast remains unchanged at 650,000 tonnes. The weather is OK and the harvest will start at the beginning of August.
Other WPTC countries
Harvest started on July 6 in the Southern part of the state. As of week ending July 15 a total of 354,711 short tons (321,000 metric tonnes) have been harvested. The estimate is to harvest 644,000 short tons (584,000 metric tonnes) this week (w/e July 22). This would will be about 950,000 short tons (861,000 metric tonnes) less than last year at this time. This is mainly because of the late planting due to the wet spring conditions. By the end of next week deliveries are expected to increase in the Northern part of the state. So far the crop is picking close to contract and the quality is good.
The Chatham growing area experienced some hail damage approximately 13 days ago, which resulted in a relatively small amount of acreage loss. There has been some late blight disease pressure, however, if growers keep their preventive fungicide spray up to date, it appears to be able to be controlled. All indications are that the tomato crops look to be in good shape and at this time it is expected that 100% of contract tonnage (463,704 short tons, c. 420,000 metric tonnes) will be achieved.
The tomatoes are growing well but the heat wave from 5 to 10 July will impact the yield in Xinjiang, although it is too earlier to assess the loss now. The acreage and expected quantity remain the same as last month. Current weather conditions are good and starting time will be around 5 to 10 August, maybe earlier in south of Xinjiang.
The current estimate is still 160,000 tonnes.
Other US States
Scattered and severe rain events have hit some fields in the US Midwest in the past two weeks. Some have received in excess of 10 inches while only a few miles away, the total might have been only one inch. Processing will start in mid-August, behind a normal schedule due to the late planting season and moderate temperatures.
The 2017 season was very wet. It started cold and very dry, but once harvest began so did the rain with 450 mm of rain falling during the harvest period (7 weeks). A total of 50,000 metric tonnes were harvested from 633 ha, with approximately 30,000 tonnes for canned peeled and 20,000 tonnes for paste production.
The latest figures and information provided by the WPTC bring a slight downward revision compared to last June's estimates, but above all reduce the prospects for world-wide processing activity to a level almost identical to the production intentions announced in January 2017. At this time, with the revisions that occurred mainly in the Mediterranean basin, estimates of global processing amount to 38.13 million mT, i.e. 0.1% more than the 2016 result.