Citrus Growers Prepare For Sub Freezing Temps

Central Valley Citrus Growers Prepare for Cold Weather 

News Release

Central Valley citrus growers are anticipating subfreezing temperatures over the weekend. Forecasts show colder temperatures throughout the Valley Friday evening through Sunday morning, with the coldest areas expected to dip into the upper 20s and possibly the mid-20s.

Growers are prepared to implement frost protection measures if temperatures drop below freezing. This includes the use of irrigation water and wind machines to elevate grove temperatures by 3 to 5 degrees, thus mitigating the potential for frost to occur.

Generally, navel varieties can tolerate temperatures as low as 27 degrees without risk for damage, whereas Mandarin varieties tend to be susceptible to damage at temperatures below 32. The key factor is the duration of time at or below these thresholds. The potential for damage increases when cold temperatures persist for several hours.

At this time, forecasts do not suggest a critical freeze event will occur this weekend; however, growers will certainly be watching the temperature closely and activating freeze precautions as necessary.

According to the 2017 county crop report data, 90 percent of California’s commercial citrus crop is grown in Madera, Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties. This represents a total crop value of $3.1 billion. Statewide, citrus is a $3.8 billion crop.

California Coffee Brews Success

Mark Gaskell on California Coffee Crop

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke about the emerging California coffee crop  with Mark Gaskell, who covers San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties as farm advisor for the University of California Small Farm Program as well as the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) Cooperative Extension.

“Currently, there are about 30 farms with maybe 30,000 coffee plants between San Luis Obispo and San Diego Counties,” Gaskell said. “I would expect that to double this year. California’s coffee crop is doing well.”

“There is also now a private company, Frinj Coffee,” explained Gaskell, “that evolved out of a long relationship I had with Jay Ruskey, CEO and co-founder of Goleta-based Good Land Organics. Ruskey participated in some of our early research and development work with California coffee. Our collaboration has justified investment by the number of coffee growers in the Frinj Coffee operations.”

There are 25 growers, according to the Frinj Coffee website.

Coffee cultivation is new to California, because, as Gaskell explained, “traditionally, coffee is grown in subtropical areas, specifically at high elevations where the relatively cooler temperatures are. Cooler temperatures prolong the ripening time, which improves the quality of the coffee beans.”

“So, in the world’s newest coffee growing region, Coastal Southern California,” Gaskell said, “we replaced the high elevation with the influence of the Pacific Ocean. The ocean delivers a huge mass of relatively cool temperatures—always between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. These mild coastal conditions enable a very long ripening season for the coffee cherries and coffee beans.”

Gaskell projects the California coffee crop will be very successful.

“We expect the coffee volume will double this year and probably continue to double for the next few years. Just based on existing interest in coffee, I expect demand to keep pace with the ability of California growers to supply it, and more and more growers will be planting it this year.”