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2014: Week 03 at the Source (Week 05 in the market)

Rain: Week 3 back at the farm brought an accumulated rainfall of 42.6 mm (1.7 inches), of which 38 mm (1.5 inches) fell in one single day! The remainder of the week was dry or with very light drizzles.

Temperature: Air and soil temperatures decreased this week. The minimum reached 22.8°C (73°F) and the average 25.4°C (77.8°F) – 1.3°C lower than prior week. The soil temperature reached 25.4°C (77.8°F) – 0.7°C lower than prior week.  Relative humidity decreased to 72.1%, an unusually low level in the tropics! Solar radiation was highly variable with days of intense brightness and days of medium to very low intensity and high cloudiness. Specifically, Thursday and Friday were very dark and cold during the day and night.

Observations: The announced cold front did materialize during the middle of week 3. While the onset of an NDF event is difficult to predict with certainty, we suspect that conditions during week 3 may have stressed plants with two days of the week overcast and rainy. During this period the difference between the maximum and minimum temperature was small and both the day and the night were cold. The stress level could have been enough to cause an event.

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2014: Week 02 at the Source (Week 04 in the market)

Rain: This was a much drier week with only one day that brought moderate precipitation; the rest of the week was bone dry! Total rainfall for the week was 10.8 mm (0.43 inches)

Temperature: Both minimum air temperature and the weekly average temperature remained stable and very similar to prior week. The minimum air temperature reached 23.4°C (74.2°F) and the average was 26.7°C (80.1°F). The soil temperature also remained stable at 26.1°C (78.9°F).  Relative humidity was identical to last week (82.9%). Solar radiation was varied – some days were low to normal but some of them were very sunny and hot!

Observations: Our weather continues unseasonably mild so we have continued to reduce harvest age which has brought about an improvement in the internal quality of the fruit harvested during the week. Regarding NDF, the farms have reported the presence of the first natural fruits but the volume is far very small. The first natural flowering event seems to have occurred towards the end of 2013 – we await the mergence of visible buds to inventory the extent of NDF. The good weather that has followed the New Year leads us to believe that natural flowering will continue low!

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2014: Week 01 at the Source (Week 03 in the market)

Rain: The first week of 2014 brought a few days   of moderate intensity rainfall concentrated from the beginning to the middle of the week and a very dry weekend. Total accumulated rainfall was 27.6 mm – 1.1 inches

Temperature: Surprising turn of events – the air temperatures increased with the  minimum temperature reaching 23.3°C (73.9°F) – 2.7 degrees Celsius higher than last week, and the average was 27°C (80.6°F) – 1/2 degree Celsius higher than prior week. The soil temperature remained stable at 26.1°C (78.9°F).  Relative humidity averaged 82.9%, while the solar radiation was low from the beginning to the middle of the week but became very intense during the weekend.

Observations: You can tell that this is one of the most challenging time frames in the pineapple production cycle. The expected winter climate characterized by cool temperatures and abundant rainfall has yet to stabilize and we continue with drastic variations in temperatures from week to week. The harvest strategy that was gradually implemented in anticipation of the normal winter climatic conditions has had to be reversed because growth conditions have resembled more those of the hot and dry season!

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2013: Week 52 at the Source (Week 02 in the market)

Rain: The last week of 2013 brought very limited precipitation – only half an inch of rain (14.8 mm) with light drizzles almost every day of the week.

Temperature: We had sunny hot days but seasonally cool nights. Minimum temperature reached 20.6°C (72.5°F) -1.9 degrees Celsius lower than last week, but the average temperature was very similar to prior week – 26.5°C (79.8°F) reflecting the hot and sunny days. The soil temperature reached 26°C (78.8°F). Relative humidity averaged 81.1% – very low for this time of the year. Solar radiation was intense most of the week.

Observations: Week 52’s nighttime temperatures decreased significantly, bringing increased risk of having a natural flowering event. The variance between day and night temperatures was significant enough to cause stress to soon to be forced plants. On the other hand, we strive to have the best possible sugar content at harvest but when it exceeds 15 the risk of internal quality issues especially on long trips is heightened. For this reason we have embarked on a harvest age reduction process but in a cautious manner,   guarding against a sudden change to the more typical winter climate that would slow fruit growth and force us to once again increase harvest age. This is the annual balancing act that we perform year on year.

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Your Weekly Pineapple Quickie – 12/27/2013

•              Some rainfall (2.5 in.) and cooler temperatures, but not extreme

•              Slight change in harvest pattern to make up for weather change

•              Cooler temperatures causing medium-sized fruit

•              Industry volumes seem to be on a decline!

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2013: Week 51 at the Source (Week 1 in the market)

Rain: Week 51 brought an accumulation of rainfall of 62.6mm (almost 2 and half inches) that was concentrated during the first half of the week. The second half of the week was relatively dry.

Temperature: Both the air and soil temperatures dropped  – the  minimum temperature reached 22.2°C (71.9°F) and the average was 25.5°C (77.9°F) – one °C lower than prior week. Also, the soil temperature decreased by one °C as well versus the prior week to 25.7 °C (80°F) (mainly due to the increased rainfall).  Relative humidity averaged 87.9 %, while low to moderate solar radiation was experienced during the “dry half” of the week.

Observations: Even though our weather conditions have changed rapidly, we are confident that the levels of rainfall and lower temperatures have not caused any major stress that could trigger significant amounts of NDF. We are starting to survey fields on a weekly basis to identify any natural fruits that may appear. The weather conditions could bring some changes in our fruit quality and the change in harvest pattern is a preventive action. On a more visible note, the size of our fruit and external color are changing as medium-to-small sizes and lower-color fruit are becoming more predominant.

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2013: Week 50 at the Source (Week 52 in the market)

Rain: Week 50 brought us a variable weather pattern with some days totally dry and sunny while other days experienced heavy downpours (typical of the rainy season). The total accumulated precipitation during the week was 36mm – close to one and a half inch.

Temperature: The average temperature has not dropped during the month of December as it has in prior years.  Minimum temperature reached 22.5°C (72.5°F) and the average was 26.5°C (79.8°F). The soil temperature reached 26.7°C (80°F).  Relative humidity averaged 84.6% (still low for this time of the year), while the solar radiation was moderate to low due the presence of some rainy days.

Observations: The Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica has announced a change in the climate of the North and the Caribbean regions, bringing cooler temperatures and increased rainfall. We may finally start to get the conditions that are more usual during this time of the year!  We are making extra efforts to control the production and quality aspects of our fruit in order to keep the expected levels. The pineapple industry in Costa Rica usually suffers from a drop in volume starting the New Year that lasts for about two months – a pattern brought about by the climatic variables and end of the peak harvest that has lasted for the last 3 months.

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2013: Week 49 at the Source (Week 51 in the market)

Rain: Although the prior week had brought torrential rains that apparently announced the start of our rainy season, this week actual brought an accumulated precipitation of only 1.4mm. Rather negligible!

Temperature: Air and soil temperatures remained stable as the minimum temperature reached 21.8°C (71.2°F) and the average 26.7°C (80°F). The soil temperature reached 26°C (78.8°F).  Relative humidity averaged 81.8% – very low for this time of the year! Solar radiation continued intense during the most part of the week.

Observations: We are experiencing a rather atypical year-end weather pattern as the seasonal cold fronts that are preceded by rain during this time of year have simply not materialized. The drop in air and soil temperatures has been very slight and we do not believe that they have caused sufficient plant stress to bring the onset of NDF. Field sampling for NDF evidence will start early next year and we will know with confidence if any events may have occurred. With the good weather, we have had very good quality!

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2013: Week 48 at the Source (Week 50 in the market)

Rain: Week 48 at the source was relatively dry and sunny through Thursday but that night the skies opened and we got 4 inches of rain in less than 6 hours! We managed to accumulate a total of 136.40mm (5.4 inches) by the end of the week, and some low-lying areas suffered some flooding during the weekend.

Temperature: The air and soil temperatures decreased this week but still remained at a level of low risk of stress to plants. Minimum temperature reached 22°C (71.6°F) and the average 26.3°C (79.4°F) – 0.8°C lower than last week. The soil temperature reached 26.2°C (79.2°F) – 0.8°C lower than prior week due the higher precipitation.  Relative humidity averaged 85.7%, while solar radiation was intense during the first part of the week.

Observations: Even with a day of excessive rainfall and low solar radiation that could spark the plant stress that causes NDF, we estimate that the probability of natural flowering is still low and any possible events until now will be mild. Air and soil temperatures remain acceptable!  We have made changes in harvest and packing methods to attempt to minimize the “burnt” leaf syndrome that has surfaced in recent weeks and we are taking all necessary precautions to minimize mold development that has plagued the industry specifically on longer voyages to the market. The favorable climate of November and timely agricultural practices in our farms will play a decisive role in guaranteeing good quality of our fruit for the balance of the year.

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2013: Week 47 at the Source (Week 49 in the market)

Rain: The week brought an important reduction in total rainfall to 28 mm (1.1 inches), concentrated at the beginning of the week.

Temperature: The minimum air-temperatures started to decrease but fortunately the average air and soil temperatures actually had a slight increase! Minimum temperature reached 22.3°C (72.1°F) – 0.9°C lower than last week; and the average reached 27.1°C (80.7°F). The soil temperature reached 27°C (80.6°F).  Relative humidity decreased to 83.6% due the lower precipitation of the week, while solar intensity was high during most of the week.

Observations: Although air temperatures have dropped slightly during the last two weeks, we believe that it hasn’t been of the magnitude to bring stress to plants and to cause NDF. However we remain vigilant and continue monitoring the fields for evidence of natural flowering. Weather has been favorable up until now, but the trustworthy Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica has announced lower temperatures and increased rainfall for the following weeks.

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