December 14, 2010

12/14/2010 Freeze Report

Following are the latest updates from our field contacts regarding the effects of last night’s freeze.

Last night SW FL had quite a bit of damage - corn and beans that survived last week were wiped out last night - row covers and irrigating were less effective due to the wind - many farmers are reporting freezing back the top 6 -8 inches of tomatoes, pepper, eggplants in many places - damage is variable with some older stuff hit harder than some younger plantings - less damage as you go south. A good amount of wind damage to crops yesterday. Citrus - ok - some damage to cane with some frozen cane reported, overall not as bad as last year but definitely more damage than last week. Pastures are brown and unlikely to come back quickly due to cold and drought - meaning cattlemen will be spending a lot of money on feed this season. Tonight may be a problem.

Gene McAvoy, Hendry & Regional IFAS

Volusia County, 26 in Pierson, preliminary reports indicate citrus made it through without major damage. Cut foliage has been frost protected. Future yields will be reduced for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day crop. David Griffis, County Extension Director St. Lucie County overnight temps, according to NOAA, Low 25 – High 30 between midnight and 7:00 A.M Preliminary report on citrus is okay. A tomato supplier is checking on damage and will let us know what they find. Damage to peppers is being assessed and will be reported later. Nora Cunningham, Ft. Pierce State Farmers' Market Citrus growers in the Indian River area reported temperatures at the freezing mark shortly after midnight. Temperatures very gradually declined to a minimum of 26-27 degrees in most areas near sunrise, with durations below 28 degrees of 2 hours or less.

Tim Gaver, IFAS Ext. Agent

Growers are still assessing damages. It is too early to tell at this point the extent of damage. 10 to 12 hours of freezing temperatures. Another hard freeze expected tonight. The Palatka Market received some seed potato trucks at market scale yesterday. A few growers are now receiving seed potatoes for planting, the seed will be stored in barns with heaters to avoid freezing. Planting will resume when the weather warms up.

Vicki Brown, Palatka State Farmers' Market

It is a bit early to access the damage to the cut-foliage crop. We had 24 degrees about everywhere last night with several colder pockets. With the 24 degrees and the 10 mph sustained winds, there was excessive ice formed on the crops. With this much ice formed there will be considerable damage to the young crop. The forecast calls for similar temperatures tonight, although with milder winds. It will take about a week to really get a good handle on the percentage foliage crop that has damage.

J. R. Newbold, Forest Groves, Inc. Putnam County

It appears the low temp in Immokalee was around 27 degrees and below freezing for over 4 hours. The crops were just beginning to show the effects of the last cold snap so total damages may not show up for several days. I will send pictures as time permits. Jerry Hubbart, Immokalee State Farmers Market Homestead/Florida City temperatures dropped to the low 30’s with 10-15mph winds. There will be wind damage and loss of bloom but it is too soon to determine at this time. Overhead irrigation was used early this morning in many fields. Overall, crops faired well, with the wind blowing there was no frost.

Paul Cardwell, FL City State Farmers’ Market

There may be moderate damage to the small acreage of carrots planted in the area, but severity may not be known until first of the year. Older carrots may have damage to the tops, which can make the tops weak and more difficult to harvest. Younger carrots could sustain total loss. The temperature has been below freezing since 8:00 p.m. Monday, with a recorded low of 20.8 degrees F. in White Springs near the Suwannee Valley State Farmers’ Market

Edye Buchanan, Suwannee Valley State Farmers’ Market

Strawberry farmers turned on their water around midnight and off around 7 AM this morning. It is too early to find out if there was any loss of crops. The weather got down in the 20’s in some locations. It got down to 30 degrees here on our market. We did not have as much wind as the night before last. Carol Ryan, Plant City State Farmers Market Local lows for Hardee County and the surrounding areas were 24 to 26 degrees with a possible wind chill of 5 degrees. There were scattered reports of ice in the oranges. The strawberry growers report a decent ice coverage in the fields despite the winds. It is predicted that tonight will be colder with less wind.

Diana Durrance, Wauchula State Farmers’ Market

Citrus industry as a whole came through last night in pretty good shape. There were some mid-20s registered but durations were not long enough to reflect much damage to fruit. Scattered reports from growers who cut slush ice but nothing material. This was consistent through all of our growing regions and overall we were very fortunate. We do expect some mid-20s again but with no wind this should be a perfect night for irrigation.

Michael W. Sparks, Citrus Mutual

The aquaculture sector in most danger is tropical fish. Florida tropical fish sales in 2007 (latest available) $32,192,000, ½ of that, almost $17,000,000 comes out of Hillsborough County, followed by approximately $6,000,000 in sales from Polk County. • Marginal/minimal losses so far. • Fish sink to bottom when dead so assessment difficult • Cover ponds with plastic and flood with warmer water • Wind is a problem breaching plastic coverings eliminating solar warming • Open ponds will suffer severe losses • Farmers are doing everything they can to prevent losses • Polk County is currently the coldest area • Farmers are just recovering from serious losses from freeze event in 2010 • More accurate damage assessment by end of week • Farmers hopeful because of expected end of week warmer temperatures.

Martin May, Div. of Seafood

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