Cold snap takes it easy on local crops

By Staff
Jason Cannon, FCT Publisher
As old man winter wrestles the once budding greenery back to the ground, he has put many local farmers and producers in a bind.
This week's cold snap has put many local cattle and chicken commercial manufacturers in an icy grip.
"Hay is real hard to come by," said Franklin County Extension Agent Tim Reed, "and the colder it gets, the more the cows are going to want to eat."
Many local chicken hatcheries are also having trouble dealing with the cold temperatures and are scrambling to keep their chickens alive.
"Farmers have had to turn the heat up in their chicken houses," Reed said. "That doesn't sound like a big deal but with the cost of propane what it is, and that fact that it's staying cold all day and all night, that gets to be quite an expense."
Crop-wise, Reed said the impact should be minimal.
Reed said the biggest danger in the recent declining temperatures would be that it could cause some fruit trees to bloom earlier than desired.
This makes them more susceptible to late season frosts.
Even though temperatures have dug deep into the 20s this week, Reed said it hasn't really been cold enough to do a lot of damage – good news for the handful of oat growers in Franklin County.
"It really needs to get around 10 to 15 to hurt oats," he said.
Reed estimated that the cold weather has done little to hurt commercial production other than driving up the farmers' cost of maintenance but could be even worse news for the county's insect population.
"Cold weather is looked at as help in killing harmful insects," he said.

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