This photo taken Wednesday April 21 night into Thursday April 22 morning of the Hornyak Farms peach orchard. Photo by Evan Hornyak.

Assessing the damage from the late April snow

By Matt Reese

All types of farmers around the state are preparing to assess the damage from the snow and low temperatures this week.

Evan Hornyak from Geauga County has had some late nights trying to protect the Hornyak Farms u-pick peach crop near Chardon. They have been burning a handful of smudge pots and even built an air blast heater mounted on a tractor to run up and down the rows. 

“The past 48 hours we fought Mother Nature to try and protect our peach crop from the freezing weather, lighting 8 fires strategically placed around the orchard that we were feeding with excavators,” Hornyak said. “All this to just bump the orchard a few degrees and protect the vulnerable peach buds. We will find out in a couple of days by looking at the buds to see if our actions actually worked or not.” 

Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo toured a couple of Morrow County planted soybean fields with Golden Harvest agronomist Wayde Looker the day after the significant snow fall to assess the situation.

This field was planted April 7 in no-till and close to emerging on April 22.

“Soil temperatures are right around 48 degrees, which is a little cooler than we’d like to see. Generally soybeans do well in temperatures above 50 degrees. We looked at two different fields,” Looker said. “The first was planted April 7 into no-till ground. We are starting to see beans close to emerging, maybe a half inch away. The second field was a conventionally tilled field planted on April 14. Those beans have germinated, but we are still quite a ways from those beans emerging.”

Both fields should be safe from damage from the April 21 snow and cold temperatures.

In terms of the corn crop that has been planted in the area, Looker has some concerns.

“There are a few things we have to consider with the corn crop right now. I am concerned about the corn planted on Monday and Tuesday of this week. That first drink of water when it is really cold can cause chilling injury to the seed,” Looker said. “I’m less concerned about the corn that was planted earlier because we are passed that germination stage. In corn that has emerged, all of that vegetative tissue above the ground will be subject to plant death, however that growing point is still protected down within the soil. I’m not really concerned about our corn crop needing to be replanted.”

According to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office, as of April 18, the state’s corn acreage planting progress was at 4% complete while soybean acres were 5% planted statewide. 

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