EASTON, Calif. (KGPE) – A cold snap is heading to the Valley and the freezing temperatures and keeping local farmers on alert, but a freeze is not always a bad thing for local citrus crops, according to information from California Citrus Mutual.
As the sun goes down and temperatures drop on the Valley floor local farmers are staying on alert, but the cold some say could be a good thing for some of their crops.
CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau Ryan Jacobsen said seedless mandarins and navel oranges are two types of citrus fruit that just might prosper during Friday night’s cold front.
According to the California Citrus Mutual, cold weather can actually help trees produce better tasting quality fruit.
“We’re very fortunate with the temps that we have coming that first and foremost we had some decent precipitation,” said Jacobsen.
“There’s a lot of people who think citrus doesn’t do good with cold well it’s actually the opposite as long as it doesn’t get too cold and we’re talking below 28 or 30 degrees for long periods of time.”
Jacobsen said the cold weather is welcome, but farmers’ hopes are that temperatures don’t get too low or stay for too long throughout the winter season.
“It’s so important to recognize that it is a very fine line just a couple of degrees of the beneficial side over to what could be a more detrimental side.”
Even just a one-degree difference he said can play a part in whether a citrus fruit flourishes or fails.
“So that’s why you see those big fans out in the field helping to bring warm air that’s above the trees down into the colder layer,” Jacobsen said.
Jacobsen also had this advice for farmers who are just starting in the ag business, “Just make sure you’re paying attention to whatever microclimate you’re in and figuring out what those temperatures are expected to be,” he said. “You gotta follow it hour through hour through the night.”
Dedication, time and patience make for the best harvest.
As far as Friday’s cold storm, Jacobsen said many farmers are welcoming it knowing it will benefit their crops.