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Tim Atkin MW on the hail crisis in Burgundy and what producers could learn from Argentina

Published:  04 July, 2014

"Would you like to go up in one of our planes?" asked Eduardo Martín, director of the Argentinean Ministry of Agriculture's anti-hail squad. It was an offer that was all too easy to refuse. In Mendoza, the 24 pilots who are employed by the Ministry to combat hail are paid danger money and deserve every peso. Since 1998, when planes seeding clouds with silver iodide replaced rockets as a way of combating the biggest risk to vineyards, the pilots have been doing what must rank as one of the scariest jobs in the world. You fly inside a cloud at 1,500 metres for up to seven hours a day with almost zero visibility, relying on your instruments to guide you. A plane went down in 2004 and it won't be the last.

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