Snow might be piled several feet deep in the Fraser Valley, but the uncharacteristically late winter is not causing problems for farmers… yet.
University of the Fraser Valley farming expert Tom Baumann says a recent check found Fraser Valley crops to be healthy, dormant, and in most cases protected beneath a blanket of snow.
But he says warming temperatures forecast for next week could be trouble if they’re followed by yet another unexpected late season freeze.
“What really, really worries us – and this is why we’re keeping our fingers crossed – is that if it gets a little bit warm, even 10 degrees, everything will start growing. And then if it gets cold, then we’re going to have a problem.”
Baumann says the cold weather plays a role in the growth process, helping to form the flowers in buds, but that process is finished.
“This year the colder climate for the plants has already been fulfilled, so the minute it gets warm, they’re going to come out like crazy. There will be lots of blooms out, all of a sudden within a week.”
“If that is the time they get hit with the cold again, it’s a disaster.”
Baumann says the one area there’s been trouble has been wind, which has dehydrated some blueberry and raspberry plants poking out of the snow.
He says farmers in recent years have been able to get a head start on the season, but with winter lagging on will find themselves in a rush to get fields prepared once conditions clear up.