December 8, 2010

December 8 Freeze Report

Here are the updates we received for conditions around the state.
Updated 3:45pm

Hillsborough County strawberry growers utilized water irrigation to mitigate the effects of the below freezing area temperatures. At the Plant City SFM, overnight low was 30 degrees. During a routine early morning drive-by inspection of the fields, there was a distinct heavy frost on the ground and fencing.
Michael C. Tucker, Sr Market Manager, Plant City State Farmers Market

Strawberries experienced another cold night with some areas reporting as low as 24F. Freeze duration was about from midnight until 8 AM Besides irrigation some farms are already experimenting with areas of cloth covering as an alternative. Weather seems dyslexic - it was 85 last Tuesday & Wednesday, and high is forecast at 58 today. We are in the early weeks of harvest, and this cold is slowing fruit maturity a bit. Therefore it is very frustrating not to be able to supply the presently high consumer demand. Growers are also concerned about the tender blooms on the plants. Damage to blooms can cause future problems ranging from misshapen fruit to erratic production spikes, and that will not be visible for a week or two. The current forecast shows improving temperatures until next Tuesday, so farmers can again sleep at night, and they expect to get back into a normal harvest pattern quickly.

Ted Campbell, FL Strawberry Growers Assoc.

The cold weather did not hurt the blueberry bushes because they are not blooming yet। They usually bloom in late December।
Maribel Lebron , Island Grove Ag Products, Hawthorne

Putnam County: Palatka dropped to 24 degrees, Larry Corn, of L&M Farm, (over 2,000 acres of Collards, Kale, Mustards), they have some damage, but will not know for several days the full extent of the damage. East Palatka and Hastings had 6 to 8 hours of freezing temperatures last night. No potatoes in the ground at this time. A few growers should start planting in the next couple weeks.
Terry Driggers, Sr Market Manager, Palatka State Farmers' Market

Indian River area fell into the upper 20’s again near daybreak. Durations at the 28 degree mark were not long enough to damage citrus fruit, but should serve to advance tree cold hardiness. Lots of ground frost was evident, although not as heavy as Monday morning.
Tim Gaver, Extension Agent II – Citrus, UF/IFAS/St. Lucie County

The temperatures dropped to around 32 degrees in the groves, it dropped to around 28 degrees in some low-lying areas, but it didn't stay cold enough for long enough to do damage. “The more you rehearse these routines of getting up and checking the groves and running the irrigation, and keeping your irrigation systems in optimum running condition, the better off you're going to be prepared to handle a catastrophic event.”
John Arnold, Owner, Showcase of Citrus, Clermont

Due to extended period of heavy frost on the ground probably considerable damage to “tender crops” i.e. cucumbers, squash. Damage estimate won’t be known till next week. Warm weather forecasted for remainder with weekend in 70s and this doesn’t help the situation.
Jerry Hubbart, Sr Market Manager, Immokalee State Farmers’ Market

Top 8 tropical fish producers in Hillsborough County were polled. One anticipated damage, but won’t know for weeks how much. 50% say there could be possible losses, but won’t know for a while. Ample time to get ready for the freeze and all took necessary precautions.
Division of Seafood, FDACS

Damage to young sugar cane plants, won’t know extend till later. Sugar cane agents have to go into the fields and examine each plant. Complete report will be forwarded.
Gene McAvoy, Director, Hendry & Regional IFAS

Green bean loss, 800 acres in Belle Glade, 800 acre @ $4000 acre
Eva Webb, FL Farm Bureau Federation

Corn and beans grower-shippers report significant damage in the Belle Glade, some growers reported temperatures fell to 27 degrees Dec. 8. “There’s a lot of damage around, there are going to be shortages for the next months for sure on beans and corn.
Paul Allen, Pahokee-based R.C. Hatton Farms

Though growers are still viewing the damage, buyers should expect small bean volume. “It appears that we have lost all our beans, they suffered significant damage. On the corn, we are still trying to assess the damage.” Four to five hours of 28-degree temperatures can kill plants. Wholesale green bean prices jumped to $22 to $24 a crate, doubling from what prices were a week ago, the increase isn't solely due to the freezing temperatures. "Supplies tightened up going into the weekend and the cold made it worse.”
Gene Duff / Bryan Biederman, Pioneer Growers Co-op, Belle Glade

As the state’s tomato deal is transitioning from central Florida’s fall crop in Palmetto-Ruskin to south Florida’s Immokalee winter deal, tomatoes sustained some damage. “There is a little more damage around (from the previous night’s freeze). It wasn’t a wipe-out and it didn’t put us out of business.”
Reggie Brown, Florida Tomato Committee

Immokalee area didn’t experience much wind, which usually keeps temperatures from falling too low. “We have had some freeze damage and a lot of frost damage, some areas are perfect, while other areas got hit real well, but we are still in business.”
Richard Levine,Immokalee Produce Shippers Inc.( Roma and grape tomato grower-shipper)

"We started flying helicopters at 3:40 a.m., the wind blew all night until that time and it suddenly became very calm. Mainly sub-freezing conditions on tender plants, the real problem we and others will face is the fact that we have a damaged crop with at least one more cold night staring us in the face."
John S. Hundley, Hundley Farms, Belle Glade

Temperatures in the Fort Pierce area dipped below the freezing mark for approximately three hours last night. Gielow Pickles reported they had 100% loss of their cucumber crop at their farms in Okeechobee and Myakka. Peppers at both locations seemed to fair pretty well.
Mike Brown, Sr. Market Manager, Fort Pierce State Farmers’ Market

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