Some damage

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Area peach farmers and farming officials may have enjoyed a little more sleep Wednesday night after working to battle and monitor freezing temperatures Tuesday night.

A late season cold snap brought sub-freezing temperatures to Chilton County Monday and Tuesday, sending area peach and fruit farmers into a frenzy to protect their 2009 crops.

But, reports Wednesday showed that some damage was caused, though the extent of that damage may not be known for a few days.

“It was a long night,” Chilton County Extension horticulturist Bobby Boozer said. “It got colder Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning than what we were expecting.”

Some of Boozer’s monitoring stations he had set up in orchards around the county reported temperatures as low as 26 degrees.

“With temperatures falling that low, mainly in lower elevations, there will be some damage caused. But we just don’t know how much yet,” Boozer said.

He added other parts of the county saw temperatures fall to just 30 and 31 degrees, but the length of cold weather was the problem.

“We had some areas with hours of temperatures below freezing,” Boozer said.

But, Boozer said the damage caused should not be as bad as what the area experienced with a late season cold snap in 2007.

“In my gut I don’t think it is going to be a 2007,” Boozer said. “My feeling is we are looking at damage similar to last year.”

He added that though the damage in 2007 was much more severe over the entire county, some area peach farmers suffered significant damage in 2008, but the county as a whole was not as bad.

“We will have a better feel of just what damage was caused by the end of this week,” Boozer said.