Frigid Weather Creates a Big Crop Loss

April 23, 2008 8:42:54 PM PDT
It's rare for April to see temperatures dip below 32-degrees.But several times in the past few weeks, overnight freezing temperatures have destroyed thousands of crops in the South Valley. Table grapes were hit especially hard.

Parminder Barar looked forward to July when these tiny grapes would be full grown and ready for harvest. But recent freezing temperatures have devastated his crop. The cold temperatures ruined 90-percent of his table grapes.

Parminder Brar: "This is probably, half a million dollars out of pocket for this year because we've already pruned and sprayed here."

South Valley Ag officials say recent overnight temperatures hitting as low as 27-degrees have wreaked havoc on crops in Exeter, Tulare, Ivanhoe and Porterville.

The freeze didn't target one specific area. The damage was spotty, hurting some crops but leaving others perfectly fine. On this vine, these leaves are flourishing but some leaves right next to it have been burnt by the freeze.

Parminder Brar: "I've seen frost 25 28 years ago but we've never seen anything like this ranch itself where we had a complete wipeout."

The freezing temperatures will also have a major impact on newly planted crops that now have no chance to produce, let alone grow.

Don Borges, Tulare Co. Ag Commissioner's Office: "We've had some reports of young corn being burnt - corn that's just come out of the ground."

Since a number of different types of crops were affected Ag officials say it'll be awhile before they know how much has been ruined Barar just hopes he has enough to fall back on to get through the table grape season.

Parminder Brar: "So theres nothing to do to save it? No there's nothing to do to save this, nature has decided, and we've just got to accept that.


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