Marionville, MO.- (3/16/17)
Local farmers are just now assessing the damage brought to their orchards by freezing temperatures several nights ago. One farmer from Marionville managed to protect most of his crops and is preparing for any sudden weather changes to ensure his produce survives.
For local farmer David Murphy, the freeze on Tuesday night was a worst case scenario. “In 36 years, it’s the first time its been warm and cold, warm and cold early in the year” he says.
Murphy has 17 acres of peach trees and unseasonably warm temps during the past few weeks have tricked the trees into thinking that its spring making them bloom around five weeks early when the freezing temperatures came the buds had little chance to survive.
While taking a tour of the orchard, he pointed towards a tree. “You can see the closed buds up there, them are pretty well off”.
To my right is the smoldering remains of one of 50 hay bales that David places around his peach orchard two nights ago, to help protect his crop from the cold.
“They sort of make a substitute cloud over the top of it with the smoke and a little bit of heat out of it” Murphy says.
The few degree change can have a huge impact on if a crop fails, or survives. Murphy acted early enough to help keep the crops warm.
“I was surprisingly shocked that we do have a pretty good peach crop” he added.
Murphy says around 75% of his peaches will survive in the area that he protected but he’s heard from other farmers however, who were not as lucky.
Murphy continued, “Down in Harrison, Arkansas, the biggest peach grower in the state has lost his crop”.
Depending on how other peach farmers fared during the freeze, we could see a spike in prices as supply and demand grows.