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US (WI): Apples in danger due to warm weather

Temperatures have been close to 80 degrees for several days now and buds are starting to appear on the apple trees. A frost now - not out of the question - would mean the end for most of the buds and no apples.

Steve Louis, owner of Oakwood Fruit Farm, said  "Anything much below 27 degrees and we could get a complete crop failure. We're past the point of concern now."

There is nothing to protect the buds once they emerge, as they have already started doing. Louis said that this was the first time he had ever experienced such an event.

"I was born and raised here, and I've never seen anything that even comes close to this," he said, adding that the season was weeks - if not months - ahead of schedule.

The unseasonably warm weather has impacted the entire Midwest, putting most apple farmers in the same situation. Some apples would survive a frost, but about 90 percent would be lost, Louis said.

"Basically, we've got to break history," Louis said. "You can't change it. but you keep looking at the forecast and as long as it stays warm you can sleep a little easier." The weather is especially odd, given that last year's apple crop ran about 10 days behind schedule, Louis said.


Publication date: 3/20/2012


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