Farmers Trying to Ward Off Freeze Effects
Posted March 9, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
WILSON — The nip that's suddenly in the air is just a hint of the cold weather that's headed for North Carolina. Temperatures are expected drop into the teens Wednesday night.
The coming chill is not welcome news for farmers in Wilson County and elsewhere in the state..
There are many things farmers can do, with time to prepare, but farming is always a gamble. Many farmers are able to cover some of their crops with cloth to insulate plants from the cold. They can also cover plants with water that will freeze. The coat of ice, while cold, also acts as insulation for tender plants.
For nearly 40 years, Bruce Deans has farmed strawberries. He says he has seen some early crops before, but doesn't recall any as early as this year's. Because of the unusually wet and warm weather, his plants are ahead of schedule.
He says that makes the expected frost particularly menacing, so he spent much of Tuesday putting synthetic cover cloth over his strawberry fields. That will keep the chilly wind off while the water forms its protective barrier.
Just a difference of a few degrees can make a big difference when it comes to saving a crop.
Peach farmers are also concerned about the coming cold spell. The fruit trees have been budding early, and farmers say they won't be getting much sleep over the next few nights.