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US (NY): Battle against frost continues

Fruit growers in th Hudson Valley area are fighting for the survival of this year's crops in the face of frost attacks.

Temperatures over the weekend were well below freezing and growers have been running around trying to deploy overnight protection before damage sets in.

Peter Barton, who owns Barton Orchards, in Poughquang, has employed helicopters as well as setting out wind machines and heaters in his orchards to protect newly formed fruits from frost damage.

"The growing season was going full force," Barton said. The several days of cold has interrupted the unusual early warmth. "There is major concern throughout the whole Hudson Valley for it."

Daytime temperatures are predicted to be warm, but for the night-time then it look set to continue getting cold. The current lack of cloud is causing worry as it will bring the night time temperatures down even further.

The solutions employed to frost control are not always popular with the neighbours who are kept awake by the sound of helicopters and wind machines.

"We would be as happy as they are to be sleeping at night," said Barton. "But to make sure that we actually have a livelihood, we’re doing this out of necessity."

Fruit is a major part of the local economy and attracts many tourists - mainly in the Fall season when people come to gather their own fruit.

Barton says he is confident there will be some damage, but at this stage it's too early to say just how bad it will be.

Source: www.poughkeepsiejournal.com

Publication date: 4/30/2012


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