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An early morning freeze leaves Pennsylvania growers out in the cold

Overnight temperatures fell as low as 19 degrees Monday night, damaging crops and forcing farmers to start a week long damage assessment. Average temperatures for the state during this time of year, hover around the mid 30’s, and with over a week of warmer daytime temperatures leading up to the freeze, farmers were left unprepar…ed for the cold snap.
The weeklong stretch of temperatures in the low 70’s provided a jumpstart for the growing season. This is according to James Schupp, an associate professor at Penn State’s Fruit Research and Extension in Bilgerville, Adams County, which is responsible for a full 50 percent of the state’s apple production, “Blooms are a month ahead, and — from north to south — there’s almost no variation in bloom stage,” said Schupp.
With the entire Hudson Valley now in the same bloom stage, more growers are at risk, as they face another few weeks of potentially cold weather. If too many flowers are damaged by the cold weather, fruit yields for the upcoming year could be adversely affected. “We seem to have suffered about 40% apple flower mortality. It is worse on some apple varieties and worse at some orchard operations. Thus far we still have enough live flowers to set an apple crop, but we also still have 2+ weeks of potential freezing weather,” said Schupp.
Experts are now urging extreme caution, asking growers to cover any plants that can’t be brought inside, since more bad weather may be on the way. Low temperatures overnight Thursday will dip into the 30’s again, before finally balancing out in the low 40’s towards the end of the week.
Any significant drop in the apple yields makes protecting the remaining harvest all the more important. This is a task Locus Traxx is uniquely suited to help with. Through the use of our SmartTraxx or SmartTraxx Portable unit, critical temperature and GPS data can be monitored in real time, allowing for constant reassurance that produce in transit is fresh, safe and secure.