The National Geographic have produced an excellent article focusing on a recent study into rainfall levels and how these effect truffle harvests; it’s particularly important as climate change is dramatically affecting the truffle industry.

We’re often asked how important rainfall levels are for truffle cultivation and whether irrigation is required, both for the truffle trees and for the truffles themselves. We’ve had a good understanding of this for many years and know that both trees and truffles like a moderate amount of rainfall with a disbursement across the year. The climate in the UK, Ireland and across most of mid and eastern Europe is ideal for good tree and truffle growth and additional irrigation isn’t typically required on truffle plantations.

However, new research published by Prof. Ulf Büntgen of Cambridge University is revealing that the timing of when rainfall occurs in a particular year is also a key factor in when and how many truffles can be harvested the following year.

National Geographic – New research confirms that truffle harvests are affected by rainfall patterns

The National Geographic have produced an excellent article focusing on a recent study into rainfall levels and how these effect truffle harvests; it’s particularly important as climate change is dramatically affecting the truffle industry.

We’re often asked how important rainfall levels are for truffle cultivation and whether irrigation is required, both for the truffle trees and for the truffles themselves. We’ve had a good understanding of this for many years and know that both trees and truffles like a moderate amount of rainfall with a disbursement across the year. The climate in the UK, Ireland and across most of mid and eastern Europe is ideal for good tree and truffle growth and additional irrigation isn’t typically required on truffle plantations.

However, new research published by Prof. Ulf Büntgen of Cambridge University is revealing that the timing of when rainfall occurs in a particular year is also a key factor in when and how many truffles can be harvested the following year. The research focusses on data for the Winter truffle in southern Europe. These findings are proving consistent with research currently being undertaken by truffle expert Dr Paul Thomas on both the Summer and Winter truffles at a selection of our UK truffle plantations, though this study is still in the data collection phase.

The increasing effect of climate change on rainfall distribution has meant extensive periods of drought and truffle harvests have been seriously negatively affected but until now the noted relationship was more anecdotal in nature and not fully analysed and understood. The findings from this study suggest that high levels of summer rainfall and lower levels of autumnal rainfall are key for the harvest of Winter truffles the following season.

In practice these finding have two important implications: They mean that we now have a better understanding of if and when irrigation systems need to be used to keep truffle harvests consistent, Additionally, it allows us to predict when a truffle harvest is most likely to peak, focussing truffle hunting resources during this time…and allowing chefs to plan their menus in advance so we can all enjoy them! 

 

 

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