Expected For Valley Citrus Crop
Equipment Fatigue Now A Concern
California Citrus Mutual
announced TODAY Valley citrus growers were up against below
freezing conditions for the 6th consecutive night last night. Although
higher overnight temperatures materialized this weekend, last night's extremely
low temperatures will likely result in some damage to the Valley's $1.5 billion
Cold daytime temperatures
on Sunday set the stage for a rough night, with wind machines starting as early
as 8 p.m. Unlike previous nights, an inversion layer failed to materialize
leaving wind protection unsuccessful at keeping temperatures above critical
levels. Coupled with longer duration at low temperatures, damage is
anticipated for the already weakened fruit.
The navel orange crop is
expected to make it out of this freeze episode with some damage, the extent of
which will be determined in the coming weeks. The less cold tolerant
Mandarin crop will have a greater degree of damage, again the extent of which
cannot be verified at this time.
|Joel Nelson CCM President|
While damage is expected,
it is certainly not at levels close to damage in the last significant freeze
events in 1998 and 1990. Improved frost protection technology and advanced
weather forecasting has allowed growers to better prepare for freeze events
than in prior freeze years. The industry is confident that there is
a sufficient level of harvested fruit and undamaged fruit to supply the
Equipment fatigue and fuel
supply are the concern now. In 6 nights, wind machines have run for an
average of 56 hours and field reports indicate that mechanical issues may
inhibit frost protection efforts for the duration of this freeze event.
Additionally, as cold temperatures persist, growers are worried that delivery
of fuel supplies to power wind machines may become limited.
Nevertheless, the industry
is still optimistic. "The cold weather we are experiencing now is by no
means comparable to the severe temperatures and damage incurred in 1990, or
even 1998," says California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen.
"The frost protection technology we have today has allowed producers to
better prepare for freeze conditions and protect the crop from serious
California Citrus Mutual
estimates that the overall cost to the industry for 6 nights of frost
protection is $23 million.
California Citrus Mutual is a non-profit trade association of citrus
growers, with approximately 2,200 members representing 70% California's
285,000-acre, $2 billion citrus industry. The mission of California
Citrus Mutual is to inform, educate, and advocate on behalf of citrus growers.
The Exeter, California-based organization was founded in 1977.
Labels: Citrus Damage Expected to be Less than 1990 and 1998 Freezes, Some damage expected for Valley citrus crop equipment Fatigue now a concern