Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to the Aussie ABC, a 3C rise in nighttime temperatures in Nambour is raising costs for farmers by shrinking the size of strawberries.
Climate change means smaller strawberries, higher costs for farmers
- Warm overnight temperatures are contributing to smaller strawberries
- Smaller strawberries are more expensive to pick
- Consumers may need to adapt to buying smaller fruit
It’s not cold weather causing the strawberries to shrink, but rather warmer temperatures.
And as smaller strawberries take longer to pick, production costs are rising along with temperatures — which means lower returns for farmers and could lead to a price hike at the checkout for consumers.
The principle horticulturalist at Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Christopher Menzel, said field tests at the Nambour research centre showed that as air temperatures rose the size of the fruit dropped.
“With [climate change] even here at Nambour the records show the night temperatures have gone up by about 3 degrees over the past 50 to 60 years, which is quite significant,” he said.
“The size of the fruit is very sensitive to temperatures.
Can you imagine the calamity of having to eat smaller strawberries? If further warming occurs, obviously it is not going to be possible for Nambour farmers to switch to a different variety of strawberries, or grow something else, because in the age of the climate crisis no adaption to changed conditions is possible.