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US (CA): Cold, dry winter for California citrus

A December with freezing temperatures and little moisture forced many of California's citrus growers to contend with the weather. But throughout the state, some growers are still unsure if the weather will significantly affect their crops.

According to a USDA California Crop Weather report, cold air pooled over the Central Valley last week which resulted in widespread freezes during the early morning hours. Additionally, gusty offshore winds brought dry conditions to parts of the state.

The cold temperatures were a danger for citrus crops, and growers took efforts to protect their fruit from the weather. Wind machines, which help keep orchard temperatures from falling too low, were widely used throughout the state.

Though temperatures were up throughout the state this week, growers are still unsure if the weather has done any significant damage to crops.

“Unless it's a big freeze,” says Darren Kirk of Brandt Farms, “you're not going to see the effects of it until later on.”

He added that the current crop of Navel oranges Brandt Farms grows, looks to be on par with previous years in terms of volume and price.

“It's tough to tell because the season doesn't pick up until after the holidays,” he says, “but even though we were moving more volume this time last year, it's still about the same, and so is pricing, which is between $9.75 and $13 for 88s and 72s.”

Similarly, John Morse, owner of Morse farms in Oroville, says that he hasn't seen much of an effect from the weather.

“So far, we've been doing ok,” he says. “Our mandarins and oranges have been doing well.”

Though the weather has not made it easy for growers, it appears that there is no significant damage to any of the citrus crop.

“We may not see any effects in a month, or we may not see any at all,” says Kirk, “it's just too early to tell.”

Publication date: 1/3/2012
Author: Carlos Nunez
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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