Freeze causes limited damage to Florida crops; tomatoes uncertain

01/04/2012 04:35:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Paul Allen, vice president and co-owner of Pahokee, Fla.-based R.C. Hatton Farms, said most of the vegetable crops planted away from Lake Okeechobee sustained some damage with those planted near the lake escaping injury. He estimated 300 acres of the region’s 2,500 winter corn and bean acres likely sustained damage. 

Citrus growers largely survived, said Andrew Meadows, director of communications for Florida Citrus Mutual, Lakeland.

“There was some damage in low-lying areas and in cold pockets,” he said Jan. 4. “It hit the mid- to low-20s in some areas but for not long enough duration. The Indian River region came through well with low 30s reported. Statewide, there are a few reports of cut ice in fruit and some leaf damage but it’s not widespread.”

Strawberry growers ran their sprinkler systems throughout the night to form ice domes that protect their berries.

Ted Campbell, executive director of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Dover, said growers didn’t experience significant damage.

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