By Andy Nelson

The Packer

Freezing April weather damaged apple, peach and other crops in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.

While it was too soon to tell definitely how much damage had been done, Don Armock, president of Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc. in Sparta, Mich., said on April 12 he was fairly confident Michigan apple growers made out better than fruit growers in Midwestern states to the south.

"We think we still have full-crop potential," he says. "Most trees had barely broken dormancy, and some hadn't at all. I talked to a number of growers who say we have the potential for a good crop."

In Ohio, the damage was limited mostly to fruit crops, with peaches in the Columbus area suffering losses, says Loren Buurma, co-owner of vegetable grower Buurma Farms Inc. in Willard, Ohio.

But if the unseasonably cold weather reaches further into April, it could affect some of Buurma Farms' vegetable crops, which should start coming up the week of April 16, Buurma predicts. Radishes, parsley, green onions and kale are among the early vegetables grown by the company.

Talbott Farms Inc. in Palisade, Colo., could lose about 15 percent of its peach crop because of freezing temperatures in the first half of April, chairman Harry Talbott said April 12. More freezing weather was expected in mid-April, he says.

"It's been kind of nasty the last couple of weeks," he says. "We were two weeks ahead on bloom, so the plants had that much more exposure."

Talbott Farms used wind machines to help mitigate the damage, Talbott says.

The Packer is a sister publication of The Grower.