Citrus damaged as freeze clings to West
FRESNO, Calif. — As an unusual cold spell gripped parts of the West for a fifth day, some California citrus growers reported damage to crops and an agriculture official said national prices on lettuce have started to rise because of lost produce in Arizona.
In California's San Joaquin Valley, where farmers are fighting to protect about $1.5 billion worth of citrus fruit on their trees, Sunday temperatures dropped to 25 degrees in some areas and stayed low longer than previous nights.
Prolonged temperatures in the mid-20's or below cause damage to citrus crops.
“It was our coldest night to date,” said Paul Story of Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual, an association of the state's 3,900 citrus growers. “I think mandarin growers are going to see a range of significant damage.”
Mandarins are more susceptible to cold than other citrus and start to freeze at about 32 degrees, Story said. Many mandarin trees were planted in recent years as the fruit's popularity soared.
Other citrus crops saw little or minimal damage, Story said. High sugar content in oranges helped protect them, he said, because sugar inhibits freezing.
In Southern California, strong winds helped to keep crops out of danger by keeping the cold from settling. Temperatures in downtown Los Angeles fell to 34 degrees, breaking the previous record of 36 degrees set on Jan. 14, 2007.
To the east, the freezing temperatures have done enough damage to southwestern Arizona lettuce crops that prices are increasing, said Kurt Nolte, a Yuma, Ariz.-based agricultural agent for the University of Arizona.
The area provides much of the nation's leafy greens during winter. Farmers are reporting damage to many romaine and iceberg crops. The cold is freezing the heads of the lettuce and affecting the quality and yield, Nolte said.
The price for a carton of lettuce in Yuma two weeks ago was $7 to $8. As of Monday, it costs around $20 per carton, he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McCain renews push to have military, not CIA, manage drone strikes
- Supreme Court leans toward legalizing gay marriage nationally
- High morale linked to longer survival among elderly
- At New York City rally, United States urged to acknowledge slaughter of Armenians as genocide
- Study a surprise: Commercial bees unfazed by pesticides
- House demands details of Taliban detainees swap for Bergdahl
- 15 buffalo that escaped from farm killed in upstate N.Y.
- Police protesters tangle with baseball fans in Baltimore
- Magma chamber spied under Yellowstone volcano
- Hostility at VA lingers, panel told
- AG misled Congress on spying dispute, Bush-era report says