By David Kingsbury

Argentina has once again suffered major losses due to hail, which was this year exacerbated by the El Nino effect.

The equivalent of 18,000 hectares have been completely destroyed by hail, with a series of eight storms from 24 November through to the latest and worst on 1 January.

Financial loss to date has been estimated at US$11m, with 200,000 tonnes of fruit, or 130m litres of wine destroyed. Argentina on average produces 2.2 Million tonnes of fruit.

The worst affected areas to date are San Rafael, General Alvear, San Martin and Santa Rosa. The premium areas of Tupungato, Tunuyan, Maipu and Lujan de Cuyo have been relatively untouched.

Although the danger period tends to be from mid December until mid January, the possibilities of further damage remain until the end of March.