Eye On Ag: Today’s lack of direct sunlight could affect next year’s Central Valley crops

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Smoke from various wildfires across California isn’t just affecting our air quality as experts say the particulate is also affecting this year’s harvest and the farmworkers who are working the fields.

“You have to kind of adjust,” says Michael Naito, president of the Madera County Farm Bureau. “It’s not real pleasant to be out there.”

It’s not just farmworkers affected, as Naito points out. He says if the smoke lingers for extended periods of time around crops, it may be bad news.

“I know, like wine grapes especially,” Naito explains. “If that smoke sits in there for a couple of days, you know, and just kind of permeates for a long period of time, it definitely affects the grape quality.”

Naito makes it clear that today’s smokey skies may be a problem for tomorrow’s crops. With a hazy screen of smoke limiting some crops’ access to sunlight, he thinks it might cause problems for next year’s harvest.

That diffusion could affect crops grown in the Madera County area, including almonds, pistachios, raisins, and wine grapes.

“You don’t get the direct sun and I think it affects the crop for the next year,” Naito says.

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