Spring Frost Damage

Spring Frost Damage

Posted: Updated:

May 19, 2016

Story provided by NBC

Freezing temperatures over the weekend are impacting farmers and crops in the northern plains and upper midwest.  Corn producers are monitoring their crops and according to the USDA, only superficial damage has been reported.

Growers may still have to replant some of their corn, but that isn't the only crop that may have been damaged by the recent freeze.  Producers in the upper midwest are also worried about their fruit.

Lauren Winfrey takes us to a Wisconsin orchard and winery that's assessing the damage from the weekend frost.

It'll be a season of slim pickings for a few local growers in southern Wisconsin thanks to one frosty May morning.

"We're still going to have a crop, I think the crop that we have is going to be good, but the actual quantity of apples that we were expecting is going to be reduced," says Jacob Frazen of Ski Hi Orchard.

The freeze could leave some orchards fruitless while others will suffer from a limited supply.

"We'll still have fruit," says Frazen, "it might not be the grade a stuff that they would pack out to the super market stores, maybe have a bit of visual damage."

Although it may no look like it from the outside about 50 to 80 percent of these blooms have sustained serious damage and will no longer go on to become apples.  The frost didn't only affect apples, several crop growers say they will also suffer a set back.

"It was a really sad Sunday morning," says Philippe Coquad, "to realize that all the work for a year... The work you've done and what's ahead of you... There's nothing to show for it, it's all gone."

Wollersheim Winery says this might just be the worst crop loss they've experienced in the last 30 years.

"We've been at this 45 years," says Coquad. "Yes, it is the worst we've seen, but we just keep on going and hope for a better year next year."

Strawberry producers across parts of Minnesota also report frost and freeze damage to their crops as well.  As we hear from reporter Jeff Edmondson.

Many producers kept a close watch on their fields, just to be safe.  Growing strawberries in Minnesota can be tricky, and this last weekend, our farmers were put to the test.

There were two battles that farmers had to deal with this weekend. The first one Friday night when we had those strong northerly winds that brought in those sub-freezing temperatures. The second night, Saturday night we didn't have the wind. We had the calm conditions the clear skies and that allowed for that cold air to settle in right near the ground and over the plants.

For both nights, the sub-freezing temperatures kept the Bauer's awake.

"At 3:30," says Nancy Bauer, "we started the water and the irrigation if it's going as the water hits the cold surface it freezes but it releases just enough heat to protect a blossom."

They were awake, watering and watching the nearly five acres of plants they are growing from 3:30 AM to 9:00 AM.

"It wasn't until the next day," says Bauer, "you go out and look at a blossom and it's got a yellow center and not a black center and you say we did it. It's good."

At the Bauer Berry Farm in Champlin, their crop survived without harm, but according to Nancy, the farm down the road didn't do as well.

"He came over yesterday and said, 'I think I lost over half of my crop.'"

Over the next couple of weeks, farmers will watch the weather and hope for sunny days and cool temps.

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