WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News, Weather, Sports

Farmers Use Fire And Ice To Save Crops From Frost

By: Ashley Davidson Email
By: Ashley Davidson Email

"It would turn it from a cash crop to a break even or take a loss year," said Brent Marcum.

Marcum is using new technology to try to save the 15,000 strawberry plants at his farm. It's an irrigation system that sprays the crop with water.

"As water freezes it gives off heat. Think of it backwards. To melt ice you have to have heat. As ice forms it gives off heat," Marcum said.

This morning the plants were covered in a thin sheet of ice. Marcum says temperatures below 25 degrees are a huge threat to the berries. He says they could lose 50 to 60 percent of the yield.

"The cold temperatures anticipated frost, anticipated freeze is a pretty serious problem," Marcum said.

There are other ways to preserve crops. Here at Evans Orchard they use giant propane orchard heater to save the peaches, apples, and pears.

"We can go about two miles an hour through the orchard you can cover 10 to 15 acres," Kevin Evans said.

The heater blows hot air about 150 feet on each side. Evans says the peaches are already past bloom and he expects them to survive. But he is worried about the apples, especially the Honeycrisp because it is their best. They just started to bloom.

"That makes me feel a little better because I think I can get a crop off of those even if we lose some of this other stuff," said Evans.

Evans says tomorrow night they may burn bales of hay to keep the trees defrosted, but that will depend on the wind. So now it's just game of wait and see.

"We're just gambling we're out there trying to salvage what we can," said Evans.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus

WKYT

2851 Winchester Rd. Lexington, Ky 40509 859-299-0411 - switchboard 859-299-2727 - newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 6895712