Farmers Checking On Crops After Morning Freeze

Posted at 6:34 PM, May 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-14 09:28:20-04

ADA, Mich. — Skip Sietsema is getting all too used to the crazy farming weather in West Michigan.

He doesn’t understand how people who know what he does aren’t accustomed to it yet.

“They say, ‘How’s your apple trees?’ he said Monday as he walked through one of his apple blossom rows. “I say, ‘Bad.’ ‘What happened?'”

“‘Don’t you have a thermometer at your house?”

Temperatures got down to 27 degrees at Seitsema Orchards in Ada Monday morning, and the freeze damaged a good chunk of the apple crop there.

Sietsema stops and analyzes a random blossom.

“That one’s got a little discolor to it,” he says. “I think that blossom’s dead.”

Michigan State University’s Agriculture Department says anything below 28 degrees will start affecting any open buds – like apples or cherries. Temperatures below 25 degrees can damage up to 95 percent of a crop.

Actual damage from this freeze can’t be fully measured for a couple of days, but Seitsema says losing some of those buds isn’t a big deal.

“There’s an abundance of blossoms on the tree and the farmer doesn’t need all of them,” he says.

“I think a lot of my king blossom is dead, but I think my side blooms are alive yet, so that’s still gonna be a good crop.”

All part of the luck of the business.

“Why go to Vegas when you can be a Michigan farmer?” Sietsema chuckles.

Sietsema says the orchard still has plenty of crop for its hard cider – and they’ll be selling it on Fridays and Saturdays out at 8540 2 Mile Road in Ada.