Frost: in Aveyron, “crops destroyed 100%”, the Tarn valley was strongly impacted

Frost: in Aveyron, “crops destroyed 100%”, the Tarn valley was strongly impacted
Frost: in Aveyron, “crops destroyed 100%”, the Tarn valley was strongly impacted

The negative night temperatures recorded in the Tarn valley in mid-April seriously compromised the optimism of the area’s arborists and wine growers.

Frost in 2017 and 2021, drought in 2022, mildew in 2023… The years follow one another and are similar for the Aveyron winegrowers surprised by the last episode of frost which put the vines on standby like the optimism of the operators. To varying degrees, the five Aveyron appellations were affected by the frost episode of mid-April with in places, a thermometer showing 2 degrees below 0. Demoralizing for the profession which now hopes to see the second buds start again, after the shock suffered by the vine.

We were three weeks early so these four nights of frost were very detrimental for us.

Although there is nothing exceptional about this period, the frost this year was more detrimental to the harvests. This is due to a relatively mild first quarter of 2024 and a particularly hot first half of April, with maximums close to 30°C on April 13, for example… Favoring the early development of vegetation and its vulnerability to climatic hazards.

“We were three weeks early so these four nights of frost were very detrimental for us”validates Ludovic Bouviala of the Vieux Noyer vineyard in Boyne who estimates having lost between 10 and 15 tonnes of grapes, including 50% of the estate’s white plots.

“40 tonnes of fruit destroyed”

If on the Côtes de Millau side, we prefer to see the glass half full – “it could have been worse”, confirms Ludovic Bouviala – this is not the case for the arborists, producers of apples, peaches, apricots and Mirabelle plums in the valley who undoubtedly paid the heaviest price in the last frosts of an otherwise rather mild winter. With total losses at the bottom of the valley as at Dorian Lauzun and Nicols Maury of the Gaec des Vergers de l’Aveyron. With “100% of the harvest in Mirabelle plums” destroyed by frost, that’s 40 tonnes less fruit for the Gaec which estimates its losses at nearly €75,000.

“Until mid-May, we will remain tense”

Ditto for Benoit Paulhac of Gaec des Vergers du Piedestal who farms 25 hectares of apricots, cherries, peaches and mirabelle plums. He confirms that he has to draw a line under 60% of his annual harvest of mirabelle plums, including 100% of those he grows at the bottom of the valley. “When you think that there was almost no frost in January or February and that just a few weeks ago we had 30 or 35 degrees in the afternoon… It’s unfortunate.”

Scalded by the late reprisals of a mild winter, operators in the sector are not out of the woods. “Until mid-May, we will remain frankly tense”, confirms Ludovic Bouviala. In the meantime, the unions are working to bring the file to the Departmental Territorial Directorate (DDT) with a view to triggering a compensation procedure in recognition of the natural calamity.

#French

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