Citrus Orchards impacted by fog, rain and severe cold weather

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Most of the state's 250,000 acres of citrus crops are in the Central Valley, and although the rain is desperately needed, it may force growers to make some difficult decisions.

With the current drought conditions in the Central Valley, every rainy day is appreciated.

"No one is going to argue that the rain is very, very welcomed," said Tricia Stever Blattler, Executive Director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau.

However, this time of year, the combination of fog and rain can pose extra challenges when it comes to productive harvest days.

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"It creates a lot of mud, making it hard to move people and equipment into the orchard. It will create rust in the orchard rows," she said.

Depending on the type, the weather can also directly impact the fruit itself.

"Once the citrus fruit has moisture on the skin, it can spot and create blemish or sweat and create some other undesirable conditions for that fruit going into the packing house."

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If it's impacted, local farmers have decisions to make about what they're choosing to harvest -- ensuring it's the right fruit for the right market.

"They really have to decide is there an important enough opportunity cost to still get the fruit to market and pay all the overhead for labor, diesel. It's an expensive process to harvest fruit."

A variety of citrus is grown here in the Central Valley, from oranges to lemons. On average, about 50% of citrus exported from the San Joaquin Valley comes from Tulare County alone.
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