A cold snap hit France, and agricultural regions were not spared. The night of Sunday April 3 to Monday April 4 was the coldest since April 1947, according to Météo France. This episode of frost “affected more than 90% of the country and was more or less intense depending on the area”said Patrick Galois, forecaster for Météo France.
→ REREAD. Farmers face another episode of frost
Many regions were affected by temperatures of -5°C. The record was broken in Mourmelon, in the Marne, where the thermometer fell to -9.3°C. In the middle of the morning, the temperatures were again positive ” everywhere “ and the cold spell was over.
Arborists particularly affected
“It’s very serious, it hit hard last night, many arborists are affected. What suffered was mainly the stone fruits,” says Christiane Lambert, president of the FNSEA, the majority agricultural union. According to the latter, “It will take support” of the state, because there is “of the calamity to declare”.
“It’s really the arboriculturists, given the state of progress of the orchards, who will be very strongly impacted. I’m thinking of plums, I’m thinking of mirabelle plums, I’m thinking of all the stone fruits and apples in those sectors.”underlines Jérôme Despey, secretary general of the FNSEA.
However, “It is still too early to draw a quantified assessment of the consequences of the freeze. The damage is only visible after a few days. explains the Ministry of Agriculture.
In the region of Agen, in Lot-et-Garonne, after two consecutive nights of frost, “there will be great losses” for prune plum, but lower than last year, “where it was 100% grilled”explains Rémy Muller, adviser in arboriculture at the chamber of agriculture of the department.
In the Tarn-et-Garonne, Damien Garrigues spent the night supervising the automatic sprinklers in his 60 ha of apple trees. With the hope of creating a thin layer of ice to protect its buds from a more drastic drop in temperature. “For the moment, it is not at the level of last year”, he welcomes. By 2021, he had lost around 20% of his production despite spending thirteen nights battling the cold in his orchards.
“For the moment, the losses are limited”
The damage seems to be less in the Burgundy vines. “For the moment, the losses are limited”says Pierre Vincent, general manager of Domaine Leflaive, in Puligny-Montrachet, an appellation that was particularly at risk because of its early growth.
For Jerome Despey,“What would seem to be spared at this stage is more the Mediterranean and a bit of the Rhône valley, thanks to the mistral and temperatures that were between 0 and – 1°C. We will have to wait to see if there is not some damage, I think in particular on these plots which are in the shallows. »
On Sunday, Prime Minister Jean Castex had mentioned the opening, if necessary, of a “emergency fund” for the departments most concerned. “The State will be at the side of the farmers affected, as it was particularly during the frost episode of April 2021, with the implementation of a major plan”said the Prime Minister.