The late April snow and frost is dealing quite a blow to some Southwestern Ontario farmers. Some of this week’s most impacted producers are ginseng farmers, as the snow has been taking down newly erected shade covers on farms in Brant, Norfolk and Oxford counties. The damage could result in stunted crop growth, or in a worst-case scenario, the death of plants.
As ginseng is a labour-intensive crop that can take about five years of maintenance before it’s ready for harvest, this is quite a painful situation. Shade structures have to be erected over the ginseng to filter sunlight and mimic the forest canopy under which ginseng naturally grows. With warm weather in early April, many ginseng farmers rushed to get their shades up earlier than usual to protect the plants from the sun.
However, these structures aren’t designed to withstand the weight of heavy snow. Wednesday’s snowfall triggered the collapse of many shade structures, effectively smothering hundreds of acres of ginseng.
Photo source: Dreamstime.com