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Agriculture experts say warm temperatures won't affect crops

Stormy Vineyard
Posted at 1:14 PM, Feb 10, 2022

Beachgoers are taking advantage of the warm, sunny winter days on the Central Coast, but farmers aren't celebrating this seemingly perfect winter weather.

"We would like to see this being a cloudy day with a lot of rainfall. It doesn't affect crops per se, it's not so hot that we're seeing stress on the crops yet," said San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Executive Director Brent Burchett.

Wine grapes, another major crop on the Central Coast, have not yet entered the growing process, but rather are in the pruning phase preparing for this year's crop.

"There's no leaves necessarily on the vines to be worried about sunlight at this point," Burchett said.

Agricultural experts in the area say that warm temperatures for a week or two at a time during the winter months won't have too much of an impact on crops, but a cold snap could.

"You know this time of year we should be having cold nights and if it got really cold and we had a cold snap, a freeze late at night, that would be a problem for several different crops," said Burchett.

A freeze or frost could cause permanent damage to orchard crops like avacodos and citrus.

These temperatures may seem out of the ordinary for this time of year, but weather models predicted a warmer than average winter.

"...and right now you'd have to say this does actually fit in with the La Nina pattern winter we were expecting," said KSBY News Chief Meteorologist Dave Hovde.

Meaning these warm temperatures are not that far off from what was predicted for this time of year.

"So, for as crazy as this weather has been, it's actually been pretty normal for this year," said Hovde.

The bigger problem is lack of rain.

"If you ask any farmer right now, they're not worried about a little bit of high temperatures this week or next week, really just hate to not see there being rain right now," Burchett said.