Cold Air May Damage South’s Fruit Crop

by Emily Baird on January 5, 2010 at 5:43 am

Weather experts are calling it the coldest winter the US will experience in about 25 years, And an advancing system could bring some of the coldest temperatures we’ve seen this season by the end of the week.

That could pose a problem to some farmers down south, who are worried this extended cold snap could damage the citrus crop and the strawberry plant.

So, they are implementing techniques to help protect their crops.

"As I understand, the strawberry farmers are actually using water to insulate their strawberry plants, and the water turns to ice. Then the ice serves as an insulator or barrier for further damage to the plants or the fruit that’s on the strawberry plant, " says OSU Extension Program’s Mark Mechling.

If the citrus crop or strawberry plants are damaged, the effect will be felt across the country.

"What we’ll see is a spike in some of the orange juice prices, the citrus products, and also availability, " says Mechling.

Mechling says the cold temperatures aren’t damaging plants here. It’s just an inconvenience to farmers. He says the snow is actually helping to insulate plants, such as the winter wheat crop.