Cold temperatures expected this week a worrying sign for farmers

ARCANUM — With the growing season already underway across the region more nights of below freezing temperatures this week are cause for concern for area farmers.

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Winston Brumbaugh, owner of Brumbaugh Fruit and Fun Farm in Arcanum, lost most of his apple crop in 2020 due to late season cold temperatures. And with lows expected in the Dayton area around 30 degrees tonight, Brumbaugh is fearful some of his apple crop could be damaged again.

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“I’m concerned. I’d say its about a 50/50 chance we’ll have quite a bit of damage,” Brumbaugh told News Center 7′s James Rider.

Temperatures Wednesday night into Thursday are more of a risk for damage than what was seen Tuesday night because the snow actually helped protect the crops.

“(The trees were) covered completely with snow this morning. You couldn’t even seen the blooms on here. It just acted like a blanket and it protected it from (freezing),” Brumbaugh said.

But since the snow melted during the day Wednesday, the crop won’t have the insulation that could help it survive.

“Tonight, we wont have the snow on here, its gonna be a little colder. So we might have some freeze damage tomorrow morning.”

Brumbaugh said he relies on data released from The Ohio State University that states 28 degrees is one of the first danger temperatures for crops. According to OSU’s data he’ll expect to lose about 50 percent of the blooms on the apple trees if temperatures hit the 28 degrees mark, he said.

But its more catastrophic if temperatures dip to 25 or 26 degrees because that will cause damage to about 90 percent of blooms.

But even with some damage to the crop tonight, Brumbaugh said he only needs about 10 percent of the blooms to become apples to have a good crop.

Brumbaugh said he’s hoping for some wind tonight because it creates friction that can help save the buds and the overall crop.

“Wind is like rubbing your hands together. It creates heat. When you get wind, and it gets these pedals moving back and forth it creates a little friction, and it helps protect. Wind does about as much good as anything,” he said.

According to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Dontae Jones, temperatures in Arcanum overnight into Thursday morning will hover right around 29 degrees. A Freeze Warning goes into effect for the entire region at 1 a.m. for the below-freezing temperatures.

James Rider

I was born in Virginia and have moved several times in my life as a member of an Air Force family. I've lived in Virginia, California, Germany, England, and Ohio. I graduated from Centerville High School and then went on to attend Ball State University where I graduated with a bachelor's degree.