Temperatures dip into low 20s, freeze causing Ag damage

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Freeze damage was widespread on Tchieng Fong Farm.

UC Small Farm Advisor Michael Yang found damage on 10 different Fresno County farms.

You know, like this, I think they're pretty concerned. They know the loss will be real," said Yang.

The sugar or snap peas were a complete loss. The extreme cold left them spotted.

"You peel it open, it's all burned. It turned to liquid," said Yang.

The first strawberry harvest was to begin in two weeks but the berries will soon rot.

"If you touch it it's rubbery, already soft," said Yang.

Plants wilted as fava beans were blackened by the freeze. It was so cold even hearty vegetables like broccoli were affected.

"The broccoli you see the black spots here, the damage already," said Yang.

Some farmers who ran water in their orchards to release the ground's warmth woke up to find them frozen.

"Yeah it's definitely surprising to find icicles come off of flowers," said Yang.

Fresno State Orchard Manager Rob Willmott says almond and fruit blossoms are susceptible to damage at 28 degrees.
"It looks as if it is darkening up at the base," said Willmot.

It will take several days before the damage becomes apparent. Many growers do not want to check their orchards yet. They will continue to water again overnight.

"I don't want to be discouraged. Find tons of damages and then say, gosh it didn't help me out. We have to be optimistic," said Willmot.

Some mandarin trees are still full of fruit. California citrus mutual expects some damage in the Valley crop as temperatures dipped into the low 20's but half of our local citrus has already been picked.
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