Last week's sub-freezing temperatures took a big bite out of the mountain peach crop. Howard Taylor grows peaches and other fruit at his orchard in Canton. Overnight lows last week dipped to the low 20s. Taylor said the cold came at the most vulnerable time for his KT’s Orchard and Apiary, where many of the trees were in bloom. The cold severely damaged his crop, and he expects a big loss this year.
Apple farmers in Henderson County are concerned about the potential for significant crop loss in the coming days from the forecasted cold weather. “We’re talking about some really, really potentially damaging temperatures right now,” said Terry Kelley, director for the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Service.
Heat waves, which are projected to become more frequent and intense as the century progresses, could cause as much as 10 times more crop damage than is now projected, a team of researchers led by the University of Colorado Boulder has found. The team analyzed the data by identifying the length and prevalence of stretches of unusually high heat.
Dr. Manjul Dutt thinks possibly so. Dutt, a research assistant scientist in Horticultural Sciences with the University of Florida has been observing finger lime growth in Florida for almost a decade and has made an interesting discovery. “It seemed that when the surrounding trees around the finger lime trees started getting HLB and declining, the finger lime trees continued thriving,” says Dutt.
As winter turns to spring, growers on the Western Slope are grappling with how the freezing temperatures will affect this year’s fruit trees. Some aren’t optimistic. On an unseasonably cold night last October, Steve Ela tossed and turned in bed, rolling over periodically to check the outdoor temperature on his phone.
With the burgeoning market for CBD, it is no wonder hemp cultivation has taken off in many US states. But successfully growing this crop means finding the right conditions, as some growers in Arizona are discovering the hard way. Last summer, about 85 percent of drip-irrigated industrial hemp plants in Yuma and Graham counties experienced symptoms of crown and root rot, a serious disease that leads to leaf yellowing and browning, sudden wilting and plant death.
The historic freeze, electrical-grid failure, and loss of water in Central Texas had devastating effects for farmers. While some people may think of the winter storm as a threat that has passed, farmers are still dealing with its effects — one farm was out of power for two weeks. From dead plants to frozen livestock to busted irrigation systems, local farmers suffered significant losses and are hastily trying to revitalize damaged crops.
Winter Storm Uri caused at least $600 million in agricultural losses across Texas, according to preliminary data from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agricultural economists. “A large number of Texas farmers, ranchers and others involved in commercial agriculture and agricultural production were seriously affected by Winter Storm Uri,” said Jeff Hyde, AgriLife Extension director, Bryan-College Station.
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