San Diego County growers work to protect crops from freezing temperatures
Frost cloth runs about $900 per acre
Last Updated: 330 days ago
ESCONDIDO, Calif. - Workers at Be Wise Ranch in Escondido were hustling to cover their strawberries from the cold Friday.
"For the cold, for the freezes at night," said Bill Brammer of Be Wise Ranch.
They have about 100 acres of produce that need to be protected from the freezing temperatures.
And it's not cheap.
"It's about $900 itself for the material per acre," said Brammer.
You might be surprised by what it's made out of.
"One layer of a baby diaper,” said Brammer.
It's finely spun and turned into sheets.
At night ice forms on top of the sheets of paper and it traps some of the heat underneath, protecting some of the plants.
It’s a technique Lawrence Kellar is also using in Fallbrook. He has 30 acres of scrubs and Protea.
“I went to 3 different places to find frost cloth and they were all out,” said Kellar.
But he found some and he's also irrigating his crops at night.
The water plays a key role in prevention.
"It'll freeze over the leaves, instead of freezing inside causing the cells to burst and that's what happens and it kills your plants," said Kellar.
Each plant has a value of about $150 and he'll send 30,000 to Equador next month.
Farming and agriculture is a $1.6 billion a year industry in San Diego County.
Eric Larson of the San Diego County Farm Bureau told 10News, "up to 10 percent of the counties crops are subject to freeze damage."
The cold is also having an effect on some produce coming from Imperial County.
Farmer Ralph Strahm told 10News there will be a shortage of lettuce, cauliflower and cabbage.
And you may see an increase of "2 to 3 cents per serving, but supplies will increase to meet demands in one to two weeks," Strahm said.
The cold slows the growing process but doesn't affect the quality.
And quality is what local farmers are trying to preserve.
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