Snowstorms and frosts in the region of Patagonia, Rio Negro province, could cause the death of 70% of the flock, according to en.mercopress.com. Some parts of Andes have 7 meters of snow and higher Patagonian elevations are fighting with 1-2 meters of snow. Region has reported frosts up to -23°C during the winter.
Together with technicians from the Agriculture Technology Institute, INTA, officials made a first estimate of losses in the snow covered highlands next to the cordillera, but will have to wait until October to have a more exact estimate. “Any how we are talking of at least 100,000 sheep and 5,000 cattle”.
“We estimate that the worse losses are along the mountainous terrain between 1,000 and 1,300 meters above sea level (70%), while at sea level we can expect sheep mortality in the range of 30%”.
On the positive side, snow in the lower lands will help a strong resurge of pastures during spring. Nevertheless the main problem are the small farmers in the highlands who make some money out of wool and survive winter feeding on mutton.
Rio Negro province senator Alberto Weretilneck presented an initiative in Congress requesting an extraordinary economic aid for these farmers, “which is one of the conditions considered in the Sheep Farming Recovery Fund”, when there is an agriculture emergency caused by adverse climatic conditions. Besides the provincial agriculture emergency, the federal Agriculture and Livestock secretary also declared a similar condition. The lawmaker also proposed that wool exports from Rio Negro province should benefit from zero export duties, which currently stand at 5% and 7% for greasy wool.
Patagonia alives one from cruelest winter for last 20 years, minimally from the end of nineties.
Anomalous circulation during winter 2020, mainly strongly deep pressure easterly from continent caused lot of cold blasts, extreme frosts and snowfalls in region.
Cold conditions (overall for winter 2020) are reported from parts of Southern Africa and southern coast of Australia and Tasmania too.
These coldwaves are linked with Climate change and anomalous high pressure over Antarctica, which pushes cold air more northerly, over southern parts of continents. It is possible that it is a new trend for 21. century. These anomalies, however, are only regional “global warming holes”.