Ohio Fruit Farmers Dealing with Extreme Temperatures

 
Ohio Fruit Farmers Dealing with Extreme Temperatures

Ohioans looking to buy peaches from orchards and farmers markets may find that difficult after a second consecutive abnormally cold winter.

Bill Dodd, president of the Ohio Fruit Growers Marketing Association told the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum (http://ohne.ws/1HlcKZN) many Ohio growers lost their peaches after winter temperatures fell well below zero.

"Our biggest issue was extreme cold. We hit minus 20 several times, and that caused a few problems on some blossoms," said George Lawrence, owner of Lawrence Orchards near Marion. "And then one morning a few weeks ago we dropped to 26 degrees, which hit the trees in early bloom."

But many growers choose to grow apples due to their tougher trees.

"Nobody in your area is growing peaches solely to make a living. They're a supplemental crop. If you have them, great, but nobody is betting the farm on them, so to speak," Dodd said.

But now temperatures have swung the other way and most fruit trees in the state are accelerating past their blooming stage following a week of unusually warm weather.

Dodd said the conditions are ideal for pollination and pushed ripening dates up, counteracting some of winter's effects.

"The warm weather was excellent for good pollination. It's critical during bloom to have nice weather because bees don't like to work when it's cold, windy or rainy," he said.

Ohio ranks 10th among the 32 states that produce apples. U.S. consumption of fresh apples and canned apple products has been dropping steadily since 1990, although consumption of apple juice has consistently risen during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Officials from the Fruit Growers Marketing Association tell the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum (http://ohne.ws/1HlcKZN) that many Ohio growers lost their peaches after winter temperatures fell well below zero.

They say most growers use peaches only as a supplemental crop though, and most primarily grow apples.

Temperatures as of late have swung the other way and most fruit trees in the state are accelerating past their blooming stage following a week of unusually warm weather.

Officials say the conditions are ideal for pollination and pushed ripening dates up, counteracting some of winter's effects.

Ohio ranks 10th among the 32 states that produce apples.

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