Spring freeze could cause potential problems for farmers

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The spring freeze has many apple growers worried about losing their crops for the second year in a row. Winemakers are also waiting to see the impact the cold could have on their grapes.

Some Indiana growers lost their entire apple crop in 2020 after a late freeze in May. The hope was that this year’s crop would bounce back with a heavy return bloom. Farmers say while other crops like pears, peaches and plums should be alright. However some farmers are already finding apple blooms with damage from the cold.

“I mean it’s a gamble. We’re playing with mother nature, so it’s a risk,” said Iran Sterling, co-owner of Anderson Orchard.

The good news is orchards say apple trees are in heavy bloom this year, so even a substantial loss might not wipe out a possibly profitable season.

“We were all really really looking forward to this year, and I hope we don’t have that… you know.. having a crop taken away from us again,” said Calvin Beasley, owner of Beasley’s Orchard.

In addition to apple orchards, vineyards could be impacted.

The owner of Country Heritage Winery says they are in early bud swell but it takes at least two to three days of cold to see the true impact.

“It is supposed to be dryer air coming and that actually raises the temperature of the grapes. If you had to choose, snow is definitely a good thing it is more moist and damp. And like I said it is good for the landscaping and strawberries and stuff to kind of protect them,” said Jeremy Lutter, owner of County Heritage Winery. “And even our baby plants that we just planted, it was actually a blanket put on top of that and the ground temperature would protect them a little bit at night.”

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