(Aug. 1, 2:56 p.m.) A second round of summer hailstorms in New York state has caused more damage to the Empire State’s summer and fall crops.
Hail on July 23 damaged onions, sweet corn, cabbage, beans and other crops in Oswego and other New York counties, said Jessica Chittenden, communications director for the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Damage was “pretty scattered,” and as of July 30, the department had no estimates on specific crop losses, Chittenden said.
On July 30, Patrick Hooker, New York’s agricultural commissioner, and Darrel Aubertine, a New York state senator, visited a damaged onion field in Oswego County.
Zappala Farms LLC, Cato, N.Y., the developer of the Empire Sweet sweet onion variety, lost 70 acres to the July storm, about 3.5% of its total acreage, said Jim Zappala, president.
That came on top of losses of 100 acres and 70 acres in two June hailstorms, he said, adding that harvest began July 31.
Other than the 70-acre plot that was destroyed, onion quality was not affected by the storm, Zappala said.
Zappala did not expect the losses to significantly affect markets.
“We anticipate the price will be competitive with other sweet programs,” he said.
Losses to storage onions, however, were more considerable. Growers who market product through Fulton, N.Y.-based New York Bold LLC lost about 200 acres of yellow and red onions, said Dave Santoro, facilities manager and partner.
New York Bold expects to market about 2,500 acres this season, he said. Growers had invested between $700,000 and $1 million in those lost fields this year, Santoro said.
Harvest was expected to begin in the first half of September, he said.
Sweet corn supplies could be down slightly as a result of the storms, said John Gill, owner of Gill Corn Farms Inc., Hurley, N.Y., which itself did not suffer any damage.
Apples were the crop hit hardest by the June hailstorms in New York. Up to a third of the fresh-market crop was feared lost following those storms.