Tulare County Ag official assess citrus damage

The Tulare County Ag Commissioner's Office assessed damage to citrus crops after last week's freeze.
December 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The Tulare County Ag Commissioner's Office spent Friday morning cutting open oranges, lemons and mandarins to check on fruit that has endured a full week of below freezing temperatures. Some mandarins grown near Visalia and with no extra protection measures are a total loss.

The Central Valley's citrus industry is gauging damage after more than a week of freezing temperatures sent growers into a frenzy to try and protect their crop. Long durations of extreme cold can damage citrus. Officials say mandarins were damaged to the point that they are not marketable.

Deputy Tulare County Ag Commissioner Gavin Iacono says groves in colder spots of the county that had no wind machines or running water to protect their crop could see a 100 percent loss. But there is still a good supply of citrus available to consumers.

"And even the protected stuff in the Terra Bella, Ducor, Portervilel, the whole area if they had protection they have damage but it's not as severe as the unprotected areas," Iacono said.

In Exeter Robert Lobue expects low to moderate damage to his citrus.

"The amount of damage is going to be varied across the whole industry depending on if you're in warm areas or cold areas. I imagine there could be easily 30 percent damage possible overall of the fruit that's remaining basically," Robert Lobue with Lobue Citrus said.

The freeze event lasted twice as long as growers initially expected and growers expect to endure another weekend of running wind machines and water.


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