NC Freeze Damage Restricted to Fruit

Freezing temperatures or near freezing temp’s blanketed the state last week. NCDA’s Chief of the Agronomic Division says the damage reported thus far has been from the Piedmont to the west:

“Haven’t heard of any significant freeze or cold injury on our major field or horticulture crops in the state from I’d say…from Raleigh east, certainly haven’t experienced any problems at this point.”

But, of those crops affected, Messick says the damage is going to be significant:

“Think the apple crop is going to have a significant impact, just like everything else in the state they were running two weeks ahead of schedule, so the apple crop seems to have significant impact from Asheville north and west, in particular. Probably less damage down in Lincoln and Cleveland Counties on apples. But, the higher elevations about 90% loss in what was blooming at that point. Really hard to find a live bloom the next morning after Tuesday and Wednesday morning of last week.”

While the lost to the North Carolina apple crop will probably be noticeably significant come fall, the peach crop appears to be minimally affected, according to Messick:

“Apple growers had a good year last year, but just part of the nature of agriculture and apples, they were very scared going into last week, another week they’d probably be out of danger, but didn’t happen that way. It’s really difficult to have any preventative measures for apple crops.
The peach crops in the Sandhills, they’re a little more set up with windmills or ways to stir the air there, and don’t think it got quite cold enough there, haven’t heard of any significant damage to the peach crops in the Sandhills part of the region.”

In addition to apples, the burgeoning black berry crop in the western part of the state took a significant hit:

“In western North Carolina where blackberry production has come on in the last five years, they were also running a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, and I think this likely that they’ll have significant losses there, and some growers are probably going to lose 90% of their crop because they were in full bloom.”

As for small grains, Messick says that what little damage there may be, it’s most likely isolated to lower ground:

“Unless you had a very cold area, a low spot or something, you might find some injury, but it just didn’t get quite cold enough in the vast majority of the state where small grains are grown, you really have to get down into the 20’s. and they certainly had that in the mountains, but their crops were not nearly as advanced. Any that was lost could be cut for silage.” is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.