USA - How spring temperature fluctuations, early blooms are impacting Centre County fruit farmers

28.03.2024 74 views

Plenty of people in Centre County got outside to enjoy temperatures in the 60s and 70s earlier this month, but spring weather fluctuations continue to cause concern for local fruit farmers.

Those high temperatures in the second week of March caused apricots, plums and some peach varieties to blossom, according to Shan Kumar, assistant professor of tree fruit and Extension Educator at Penn State. Buds develop on fruit trees in late summer and stay dormant through the winter and, normally, the first part of spring. As soon as the weather warms, the buds blossom into a flower, which can die when the temperature drops below 28 degrees for more than three to four hours, Kumar said.

The stone fruit blossoms that flowered earlier this month must withstand several more weeks of potential frosts before they can mature into fruit.

“It’s not like a vegetable plant, where it’s easy to recover and make changes,” said Jason Coopey, owner of Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda. “Once the flower freezes, it’s done for the year.”

Coopey explained that in the past, you could mark bloom times on a calendar: Apple trees would bloom routinely around the first week of May. Now, he said, those bloom times seem to be getting earlier and earlier, particularly for stone fruits like plums and apricots.

“From a practical perspective, these last few days have made me nervous, as trees are going to want to think about growing,” Coopey said on March 12. “It’s not good in my business: you want them to stay dormant longer. The longer they stay dormant, the better chance you have for them not to freeze off in some late spring freeze.”

Last year, Centre Region fruit farmers endured a late frost on May 18. That freeze cost Way Fruit Farm 25-35% of its entire crop of fruit, including apples. That same frost cost J.L. Farm and Cidery, which operates 814 Cider Works in State College, 30-40% of its apples.

“Fruit growing has always been a wildcard, with temperatures going up and down, which is somewhat normal, but it does seem to be exacerbated today than what it used to be,” Coopey said. “It’s happened so many times in last 10 years, I cannot remember a classic normal spring anymore. When was the last time we didn’t have 60- or 70-degree weather in March?”

Ten years ago, Chris Harner, owner of Harner Farm in State College, said he suffered a total loss of his apple crop due to frost when his apple trees bloomed in late March.

“The variability and these warmups that we get is the issue,” Harner said. “I would rather see it 40 degrees, all day every day, just to get consistency.”

Kumar noted that across the Northeast, climate change is affecting fruit producers in several ways, but the main concern in March and April is temperature fluctuations.

“The seesaw of weather, where we get very warm weather for a week or two that drops back to very cold again, stresses the trees,” Kumar said. “There is research going on currently that shows that these stressors add up over time and cause problems for the trees long term.”

Later in the summer, Kumar said, producers deal with the threat of hailstorms, which are becoming more frequent due to climate change. When apples sustain hail damage, farmers must sell them for processing in juice or applesauce at a decreased price than if they were to sell them at a produce market.

Droughts, as well as heavy rains following a drought, also are becoming more frequent due to climate change, Kumar said. Many small-scale fruit farmers do not have irrigation systems to withstand droughts, and deluges can cause fruit to crack.

“Every year, there is a different concern with climate change — erratic weather, deluges, up and down temperatures, droughts, hail events,” Kumar said. “If you are getting an apple in spite of all that, the farmer has crossed all of these barriers to get that perfect apple to you.”

Fruit farmers are making adjustments to account for these climate change-related impacts, particularly when it comes to earlier bloom times and frosts.

Andrew LeClair, owner of J.L. Farm and Cidery, said the timeline for pruning his apple trees over the dormant season has shortened significantly. Before, he would prune his 8,000 apple trees up until late April. Given warming trends in recent years, he has hired help to get pruning done before spring break on an expedited schedule.

“Every tree needs pruning to invigorate the tree and create new growth,” LeClair said. “If it stays consistent, it’s fine, but with the crazy drops and 40-degree temperature fluctuations, that’s where we see crop damage.”

Frost protection strategies, such as using heat, wind or water to warm orchards or create a frost barrier, have made strides in research but are not popular among local tree fruit farmers. LeClair called those strategies a gamble.

“We try to offset what we can’t control by controlling the amount of pruning we do on the trees and the number of buds we leave on,” LeClair said. “That way the tree has the best chance to produce as much fruit as it can, even when a frost comes.”

Source - https://www.centredaily.com

18.04.2024

USA - Vermont farms are still recovering from flooding as they enter the growing season

Hundreds of Vermont farms are still recovering from last July's catastrophic flooding and other extreme weather as they head into this year's growing season. Dog River Farm, in Berlin, Vermont, lost nearly all its produce crops in the July flooding.

18.04.2024

2024 AgroInsurance Conference - Presentations from Partners and Sponsors

Swiss Re (Switzerland), Generali (Serbia), Planet Labs (USA), GAF AG (Germany), Agremo (Serbia), Skyglyph AG (Bulgaria) and K. M. Dastur (UK/India) are the confirmed partners and sponsors of the Conference. The topics from our Sponsors and Partners will cover specifics of underwriting approaches, product design and technology innovations in agriculture insurance, when applying earth observation data facilitating proper informed decisions.

18.04.2024

USA - Banana industry's future in the face of challenges

Bananas, a significant source of potassium, are enveloped in their own biodegradable packaging, making them a convenient and widely consumed fruit in the US. They play a crucial role in the American diet, with their consumption exceeding 20% of the total fresh fruit intake, which has expanded from 92 to 136 pounds per person annually over the past 50 years.

18.04.2024

Latvia - Early April heatwave impacts fruit farming

In Latvia, an early April heatwave has prematurely awakened flora, leading to the blossoming of plums, apricots, cherries, and the greening of apple and pear trees. This abrupt seasonal shift has prompted concerns among fruit farmers as a subsequent drop in temperature and expected frosts threaten plantations.

18.04.2024

South Africa - Uncertainty looms over winter crop planting season

As South Africa navigates through the aftermath of El Niño, its agriculture sector braces for the significant impact it could have on the upcoming winter crop season. As the country approaches the winter planting season, concerns loom over the potential challenges posed by limited rainfall.

18.04.2024

Birds, beetles, bugs could help replace pesticides

Natural predators like birds, beetles and bugs might be an effective alternative t pesticides, keeping crop-devouring pests populations down while boosting crop yields, researchers said Wednesday.

18.04.2024

USA - What California citrus growers may need to recover from a record year for fruit fly

Redlands Daily Facts reports that Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, R-Yucaipa, joined other members of the state legislature in writing a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom last month, requesting $45 million in emergency funding for citrus growers grappling with an invasive fruit fly that has heavily impacted distribution and sales.

18.04.2024

India - Unpredictable weather hits potato farming

In a setback for India's agricultural sector, potato farming has been severely affected by unpredictable weather patterns, leading to a significant drop in production. Bad weather last November impacted potato farming in the nation. It damaged the crops when they were just planted, thus farmers had to plant them again in December.

istanbul escort şişli escort tbilisi escort şişli escort şişli escort maslak escort istanbul escort beşiktaş escort taksim escort izmir escort ümraniye escort mecidiyeköy escort şişli escort taksim escort ümraniye escort kartal escort şirinevler escort maltepe escort istanbul escort ümraniye escort kadıköy escort vip escort mersin escort istanbul escorts ataköy escort avcılar escort beylikdüzü escort okmeydanı escort şişli escort tuzla escort işitme cihazı sex shop sex shop sex shop sex shop sex shop sex shop sex shop sex shop