Local farmer updates springs frosty impacts

How West Michigan apple orchards are doing post springtime frost.

LOWELL, Mich. — Every spring the farming industry faces the threat of frost damaging their apple buds. The early onset of springtime times, coming out of the winter, has made this even more problematic due to our changing climate. 

Farmers, like Aaron Roth, have lost a considerable amount of apples for four straight years. In April, Railside orchard had several nights where temperatures dropped into the low 20s. Conditions that are too cold for the apple buds to withstand. 

“We tried to fight the frost with fire and large fans. But in this case, it was unsuccessful,” explained Aaron. 

This causes trees to lose the bottom half of their crop.  

 “In this particular block, of 76 acres, we lost probably seven acres of fruit. It equates anywhere up to $100,000 to $400,000 worth of apple loss. All depending on the type of apple impacted.”

In this case, Aaron estimated it to be anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 lost. Of the apple that did survive, no all of them went unharmed. Aaron explained that frost rings are now evident on some of the apples, causing them to grow deformed, which means they can’t be sold at stores. So they will instead be turned into things like juice and hard cider. 

“Overall, Michigan has a great crop and we are happy with it. But this was a great example of showing people what cold does and what frost does,” stated Aaron. 

Another example of how climate change is biting into West Michigan’s apple industry. 

RELATED: Impacts of warmer spring temperatures on the apple industry

RELATED: Climate change bites into West Michigan apples

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