Keith Mixon, president of Dole Berry Co. LLC, Watsonville, Calif. and SunnyRidge Farm, Winter Haven, Fla., said Georgia should produce a significantly smaller crop.
“Right now, it looks pretty desperate. Damage is above 50% but it’s hard to clarify,” Mixon said Feb. 21. “Anything that was out there is pretty much gone. It’s a matter of what’s available to bloom now. Anything that was blooming or had berries is completely gone.”
Mark Greeff, vice president and general manager of the eastern region for Watsonville, Calif.-based Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., agreed damage remains focused on Georgia’s southern highbush crop.
“The word we’re hearing on the (later) rabbiteye crop is that the damage would be minimal,” he said Feb. 21.
Bill Braswell, president of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association and president of Polkdale Farms, Auburndale, Fla., reported Florida sustained moderate damage.
“The dew points were very low on the night of Feb. 11 and the winds were so strong that many farmers did not have the water capacity to provide adequate protection,” he said in a late February statement. “Given the fact that the crop was advanced due to the very warm winter conditions, fruit had been set for several weeks. At this time, it appears that approximately 20% of this season’s Florida blueberry crop was lost.”