Frost destroyed nearly $180 million in citrus


Recent sub-freezing weather has impacted Kern County’s
2007 citrus crop to the tune of $178.9 million.

The Kern County Department of Agriculture developed the loss estimate after
consulting industry sources, conducting surveys and using experience from
previous freeze events, the department reported in a release Wednesday.

This preliminary loss figure will be refined as more information is gathered
and the full extent of the damage becomes evident.

A significant portion of the citrus harvest had already taken place for most
varieties including navel oranges, said Kern County Agricultural Commissioner
David Moore. Growers also used wind machines and ran irrigation water in an
attempt to lessen damage.

Temperatures below 25 degrees for extended periods did extensive damage to
fruit on the citrus trees, but some citrus fruit was spared.

“There are still good oranges and other citrus out there,” Moore said in the
release. “Kern County agricultural biologists are in the fields and fruit
packing facilities working with industry to ensure that only good citrus fruit
makes it to the marketplace.”

In 2005, the latest year figures were available, Kern’s citrus crop was worth
$354.7 million, making it the No. 4 crop in the county, according to the
commissioner’s annual crop report. Kern County is the No. 2 citrus producing
county in the nation.

Agricultural biologists will continue to survey other crops in Kern County to
monitor for freeze damage.

Source: Bakersfield Californian

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