What a difference warmth, wind and lots of rain can make in the volume of snow piled around the place!
A week ago, most of my backyard had about a foot of snow over most of it…Today, it’s mainly gone!
And it’s a good thing. Behind our berry field is an open field that will have potatoes planted in it this spring. The NE wind carried the snow right over that open field, and it spiraled out in the first 16 rows of our berry field. The drift was long and deep, encasing the canes in snow up 3-4 feet.
These pictures were taken a few days after the end of the storm as I couldn't easily get out there until then. If you look down the row, you can see how high up the canes the snow still is.
Not good for those little buds that are sleeping on the canes. It just might have killed them. Only time will tell on that…or on any of the other weather injury opportunities we have enjoyed.
In my estimation, which is not nearly as valuable as The Farmer’s, we have had 3 hazards this year:
1. It was warm too long into November. When the frosty weather came, it was too big a change in temperature and too abrupt. This tends to kill the buds at the tops of the canes.
2. We had quite a few days of very cold wind, which eventually desiccates the canes, and frozen ground, which keeps water from being available for them to take up. Usually, whole canes die with this kind of injury.
3. Some of the canes were encased in snow for some days, or ice for a day, which breaks the canes, and freezes the buds.
Broken posts from the snow load.
So much less snow...but you can see below all the canes that are broken.
The dairy farmers have much greater work challenges than we do in the midst of winter storms, and their cows usually give less milk, or may get sick more easily when they are under weather stress. Barns have collapsed, and costs for feed and energy are definitely higher in those circumstances. I would say that all farmers take a financial hit in a storm as strong and long-lived as we had.
Some farmers know already the cost of their damages, but some of us will have to wait until the buds come out in Spring.