Impact of mild winter on crops

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Some of the buds on the peach trees at Cherry Hill Orchards in Pequea Township are filling in nicely.

“There’s a little bit of a bud swell,” Phyllis Shenk, who works at the orchard, said. “There’s a little color in the tip.”

Tree fruits have been two weeks ahead of schedule because of unseasonably warm weather, but a recent cold snap might put things like apples and apricots at risk of frost damage.

Jeff Graybill an educator with Penn State extension who specializes in crop production said another risk of the warmer winter is potential diseases.

“Normally when we have a very cold winter it tends to kill off a lot of the insect predators and the same could be said true with diseases,” he said. “A good cold spell tends to wipe those out and you start fresh every year. We haven’t had that.”

Graybill said we won’t find out what was wiped out until the flowers start to come out.

In the meantime, farmers will hope the weather stays warm.

“If it continues to be warm we’ll have an earlier crop,” Shenk said. “It’ll be great!”

Crops like corn haven’t been impacted by the mild winter because they haven’t been planted yet.

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