This week, we are delighted to bring you updates on the recent ARRA season in Brazil and we report on how the growers and the ARRA™ varieties and selections are standing up to the challenges presented by this season’s heavy rainfall in the Petrolina PE and Juzeiro BA region.
These days, Brazilian growers, much like grape producers worldwide, are being challenged by increasingly extreme weather conditions. Grapa’s technical representative in Brazil, Russaika Nascimento, reports, “The average annual precipitation in Petrolina is 450mm, falling between November through to April, with the largest amounts of rainfall in the period January-March. Over the last six years, the rainfall in Petrolina during these months was much lower than average and was considered a period of drought. This year, however, the rainfall in some places has been well above the average, creating challenging conditions for the grape producers.” Nevertheless, as can be seen in the pictures below, the Brazilian growers are overcoming these concerns and in spite of the unpredictable weather conditions, have produced some very impressive crops of ARRA varieties and selections.
This red ARRA variety is well adapted to the Brazilian environment as rain tolerant and as a good producer with self-colouring. At present, ARRA 33-31+7 gives our growers a solution for a red variety which is reasonably tolerant to rain and produces two cycles a year. At this point in time, Grapa is focusing on this variety in Brazil due to its advantage of good performance in tropical climates.
ARRA 33-31+7 was first evaluated in Agrivale’s test block. During the first year of production, the selection obtained high productivity. Over the years and with protocol adjustments, the quality and productivity has further increased. This selection is starting to be well-known by the customers due to its intense colour, crunchiness and sweet taste.
Inspite of the heavy rain, Agrivale produced a good crop of ARRA 33-31+7. As Agrivale’s agronomist and production manager, Mrs Nami Ando explains, “We had weeks that it rained 200mm, there is no ‘iron grape’ but we still managed to harvest the ARRA 33-31+7. It withstood a good amount of rain, only in the last week we noticed some damage, so it really is a tolerant variety.”
Frutos do Sol (Sungroup)
There were initially some challenges due to the rain during the veraison phase of ARRA Mystic Dream, however, the crop overcame the rain and now looks amazing and ripe for the picking.
ARRA Sweeties attracted growers looking for a great white variety with good fertility and high tolerance to rain. Although subject to heavy rainfall at all stages of growth, the variety has presented the best results of in terms of quality, flavour and texture and has proven to be an excellent option for producers looking to supply customers throughout the year.
Mrs Nami Ando, surmises the ARRA Sweeties season as follows, “This year was a period of heavy rain. Here at Agrivale, since January until today, it has rained more than 500mm and if it wasn’t for ARRA grapes we wouldn’t have anything to harvest. We’re doing plastic coverage, but it’s a new issue and plastic coverage is not a miracle. But we are still managing to harvest and I believe that if it weren’t for ARRA 15 we wouldn’t be harvesting at all. The difference between covered and non-covered areas is also clear.”
Coopexvale’s sales manager for local marketing, Marcio Amorim, was satisfied with this season’s ARRA Sweeties crop, inspite of the challenges posed by the weather, saying, “ARRA Sweeties once again proved to be very competitive in adverse weather conditions. Despite the heavy rains, we managed to harvest the vast majority of grapes with good quality.”
Mr. Aldineri Cruz, Frutos do Sol’s field manager, reports direct from the vineyards on their beautiful crop of ARRA Sweeties.
Brazil, like most areas of the globe, is also dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Grapa’s consultant agronomist, Augusto Prado, explains how the Brazilian grape market is managing under this new reality, “Regarding the export markets, at present, we are supplying the American markets and in the coming weeks we will be supplying the European markets. The prices should be good, but because of the rains we will not have a large export volume. For the local market, initially we had a hard week as the government closed the open markets due to the pandemic. Now the local market is open but with restrictions as to the number of people per square metre. The prices are slightly below the average for the period because of poor quality due to the rain and we are making a great effort to maintain the quality of the exported grapes. I believe that with better quality we will achieve better prices and this month the rain should be much less.”
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Brazilian ARRA growers for their continued support and enthusiasm in the ARRA programme in Brazil and of course much appreciation and thanks to the Grapa technical team in Brazil for their guidance and expertise.
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