MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. -- With the temperatures dropping, and freezing in some parts of the Central Coast, this could be bad news for our billion dollar ag industry.
The Monterey County Farm Bureau has a list of more than 20 different crops that are grown in our area. For example, foods like asparagus and carrots are being planted right now. They said since temperatures are dropping low and close to freezing it could harm every plant that's in the ground.
Ag experts told Central Coast News because of the colder weather we're seeing every crop in the ground is at risk. The Monterey County Farm Bureau said the only plants able to withstand cold and freezing temperatures are grape vines. They can survive below freezing temperatures for several months at a time.
Anything else could be in trouble when temperatures drop below 32 degrees. Right now the only crop that's being harvested is artichokes and those are still in danger of harm.
Colder temps not only slow production for farmers, it could completely kill the plants. Depending on the crop size that loss can be anywhere from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.
Now farmers are pulling out all the stops to keep their crops safe. "We have to move everything in the greenhouse to keep from freezing and melting, sometimes we spray things outside if we can't move it inside," Monique Deaner.
Over the last few days growers have been using wind machines through the night to circulate the air to keep the crops warm. Those machines will be running longer, especially tonight where we could see some freezing temperatures in parts of the Salinas Valley.
The Monterey County Farm Bureau said weather has played a partial role in the loss of crop production within the last few years. In 2010, Monterey County made over $4 billion in crop production. That number dropped $3.8 billion in 2011.