Farmers and winter weather: climate plays a key role in agriculture
HARRISBURG, Pa – Farmers hoping for a more normal winter season ahead as colder temperatures help certain fruit trees. There have been some changes in recent years with warmer temperatures.
"It's kinda my family's legacy,” said Jon Strite, Farmer at Strites Orchard.
A way of life that's planted in this family for over a 100 years.
Generation to generation. Plowing, planting, picking, and pruning. A process that takes many days and hours on end.
"My number one job I feel like is the present the opportunity to my kids,” said Strite.
"As farmers we just have to take what nature gives us,” said Strite.
Jon Strite has acclimated to a seemingly changing climate, especially here in Central Pennsylvania.
"We've adjusted and how we are planting things a little bit,” said Strite.
Leading to an extended growing season.
"It seems like the past three or four years we've been harvesting later and later in the season,” said Strite.
"Where last year we were actually harvesting broccoli to Christmas,” said Strite.
A longer season for growing vegetables certainly a bonus for the bank.
"It's been nice stretch of dry weather, so it's been great for people to come out to the farm,” said Strite.
Colder weather, especially during the winter remains a key element when farming in Pennsylvania. Fruit trees specifically need a certain number.
"Of days below freezing, and that puts them to sleep for the winter, stops all the sap from moving and that's when we prune and do all the maintenance for our trees,” said Strite.
A lack of the winter cold could increase pest pressures. This in turn makes the farmers work harder to prevent pest from destroying crops.
"You need freezing temperatures in the winter time because that kills off some bugs that are soil,” said Strite.
Another element welcomed by farmers is a little snow, but not too much.
"Snow on top it guarantees you are at thirty two degrees, if it is just exposed to the air that's when you get down zero degrees, negative ten, so snow is a protector of soil and some of your crops"
Even though Jon personally prefers no snow.
"Doesn't matter what you like, I like to ski, but I will drive to ski,” said Strite.
A good sense of humor and a wish for a decent winter season ahead.