Farmers assessing crops after freeze

By: Courtney Lassiter Email
By: Courtney Lassiter Email

Plants, vegetables and other crops could be devastated after the weekend freeze.

The state is asking for disaster relief after the apple and peach crops were almost totally wiped out, and farmers are also toughing out what may be a total loss to corn and wheat crops. For example, corn in particular is in danger, which could put ethanol production at risk.

According to Ag experts, they’ve never seen an April freeze like this one before.

“Wheat damaged by frost or freeze will be limp, laid over with a watery appearance to it,” said Jonathan Fant, Opti-Crop consultant.

Fant also agreed there’s a lot of damage to the wheat and corn crops.

“A lot of people ask what corn is used for: ethanol production, livestock feed and chicken feed,” Fant proclaimed about the importance of the crop.

Ag Specialist Mike Bullock said the damage affected a good portion of corn fields and many farmers will have to go back and replant their crop. The problem is they’ll have trouble finding corn for replanting.

“This year the input cost was the highest ever that we’ve ever had, so they have to potentially sustain a loss,” Bullock explained.

The freeze didn’t just affect Kentucky. Many states to the south and west are counting their losses after freezing temperatures steadied for several days. Also, Bullock said in places ethanol production is located the price of corn could go higher, meaning higher prices at the pump for you.

“If that happens, ethanol plants would have to charge more for ethanol, and then fuel cost would continue to go up."

Also according to Ag specialists, all is not lost though. The rain and warmer temperatures will hopefully bring out new growth within the next 10 days. Specialists also said farmers should monitor their crops and don’t plant anything new for at least five to 10 days.

Kentucky farmers, who lost crops during the recent freeze, have two weeks to file the loss with the Farm Service Agency. The form is filed under the Non-Insured Disaster Relief Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said farmers who aren’t enrolled in the program should still fill out a form reporting the loss.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer, has asked Governor Fletcher to seek disaster relief from the USDA.

To print and fill out the form for loss of crops, click here and for instructions on how to fill out this form, click here.

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