Thursday , June 20 2024

Freezing Temps Help Some Valley Crops

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<p>Overnight temperatures are expected to be below freezing&nbsp;Tuesday night and night after night this week.</p><p>There’s concern for some Central Valley farmers about how to protect their crops. However, the freeze is not a threat for everything growing in the Valley. </p><p>When it comes to freezing temperatures and agriculture, there are some benefits along with concerns.</p><p>Ryan Jacobsen, with the Fresno County Farm Bureau, grows grapes on his vineyard.</p><p>&quot;We actually need the cold weather for some of the other crops that we do have here in the Valley, and it’s really what those magic numbers are; we need so many ‘chill hours,’ they’re referred to, under 45 to 40 degrees,&quot; Jacobsen said.</p><p>Grapes, along with tree fruits, and other crops need what’s known as &quot;chill time&quot; to put them into a dormant state. If these crops don’t get enough of these cold temperatures, it&nbsp;could actually do them some harm, according to Jacobsen.</p><p>&quot;And so they actually needed to go into a slumber to prepare for the next season, and if they don’t get enough ‘chill hours,’ you actually do run into some quality and quantity issues for next year’s crops,&quot; Jacobsen said.</p><p>This year, the freeze was delayed. But now that it’s here it is&nbsp;a threat to some crops, such as citrus.</p><p>&quot;You’ve done your farming all year long, and invested your dollars in producing your crop, and if you lose it, you have nothing to rely on,&quot; said Fresno citrus grower Keith Nilmeier.</p><p>So Nilmeier&nbsp;takes precautions when the thermometer reaches 32 degrees and below, running water to melt any ice, burning peach pits to create heat, and setting up wind machines to draw in the warm air.</p><p>Taking the needed measures helps him manage the freeze.</p><p>&quot;When you’re a farmer, it’s kind of like doing battle with Mother Nature on her terms,&quot; Nilmeier said.</p></div>

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