Yakima growers concerned about temperature swings

Yakima growers concerned about temperature swings

Growers in the Yakima Valley are worried about their crops due to the cold weather.

Philip Cline, a grape grower in the Yakima Valley, said he hopes Mother Nature is on his side because, although it’s been a mild winter, early warm temperatures and the sudden mix of freezing temperatures could cause serious crop damage this year. It can be especially harmful for tree fruits that produce cherries and peaches.

“It’s just like you and I going outside and being used to 70 degrees and we go outside and its 40 degrees, we’re going to look for a coat even though if you’re used to 30 degrees you’re not going to be as quick to grab you already got your coat on,” said Cline.

After farming for 40-years Cline said the last time he saw a bad crop season due to the weather was in 2010 where nearly 7-percent of his grape plants were killed all the way to the ground and had to start all over again the next year.

Cline said that depending on the bud hardiness 20 degrees can cause damage in tree fruits and if the temperatures drop to singles digits, grapes and all other plants would see a lot of damage.