Farmers on freeze-watch

"It's knowing when to turn them on, and what to do with them and how to play the game."

Farmer Keith Nilmeier's been playing that "game" a long time, almost five decades.

"We'll fire this off, probably, around 30 degrees."

He has the wind machines, to mix warm air above and cold air below, and the sprinklers, to provide moisture.

"The higher the dew point that we get, the longer that it takes to cool down everything and freeze," Nilmeier said.

And every December, he watches.

"Looks like 35 tonight."

Checking weather apps, to watch for Jack Frost's magic number: 28 degrees.

"Duration and temperature are the two things that amplify on how much frost damage that we can get," Nilmeier said. 

He's been through bad, years so cold, they ended in disaster.

Tonight, is not that night, according to Nilmeier, and the temps, he says, aren't cold enough to do that kind of damage.

"If you go into a hard freeze, without a couple of small freezes to begin with, man," Nilmeier said. "It's really tough on the trees themselves."

So, he'll watch the numbers, and check the air temperature in the areas around his fields.

However cold this winter gets, his machines are serviced, and Nilmeier is ready to burn.

"You don't mess with mother nature," Nilmeier said. "You just go out there and deal with her on her own terms, and you see what's going to happen and then just kind of go from there."

Reporting in Fresno County, Megan Rupe. 


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