Oregon farmer battles heat, drought to grow strawberries in time for picking
OREGON, Wis. (WMTV) - A strawberry farmer in Oregon is finding an innovative new way to stay ahead of the heat during peak picking season.
Cory Secher at Carandale Farms in Oregon said the July and August-like heat this early in the year has been a challenge for many farmers in south central Wisconsin, but especially berry farmers.
“So what’s happening is we have a drought a possibility of having smaller dryer berries and then with the heat wave its just going to expedite their development. So they’re not going to be as sweet or wonderful,” Secher said.
However, Secher has been using new technology to slow down this growth. Evaporative cooling uses frost nozzles to mist across the fields. When the water hits the ground it evaporates, it creates a two-foot horizon that is about 10-15 degrees cooler than the surrounding outdoors. He said the technology has been crucial in keeping his farm in business, but that it is time consuming.
“I know a lot of other farmers are doing this and we should be doing other things. We have a lot of crops to deal with: we have our young berries we just planted, we need to work but this takes all of our time,” Secher added.
He said there is no end in sight for the use of the technology.
“It has not been an easy season and I think that goes across most of southern Wisconsin this year. It’s getting harder every year. It’s getting hotter and dryer earlier on: we’re getting July weather in June and it’s new,” Secher explained.
Luckily, for those planning a trip to Carandale farms, Secher said the strawberries will be ripe in about a week, and will be as delicious as ever- thanks to evaporative cooling.
“So far so good the crop is looking really good. We’ve got a great fruit set and we’ve got a great season coming up,” Secher said.
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