By MITCH LIES
A Michigan State University researcher says last year's spring freeze in Michigan will reduce the state's sweet cherry crop dramatically through the 2014 season.
"That is going to affect us for a couple of years to come," Greg Lang said.
"We could see where a grower could lose as much as 3.5 tons (per acre) of potential yield because of the freeze last year," Lang said of the 2013 crop.
A top grower in Michigan can harvest up to 10 tons per acre, he said.
Speaking at the Northwest Agricultural Show Jan. 29, Lang said last year's freeze was devastating to the state's cherry growers.
"We bloomed five weeks early," he said, "a record early bloom. We were blooming in March.
"In April, we not only had our normal number of frost events, we had twice as many frost events," he said. "We had 22 frost events in the month of April. Every week we'd lose 5 percent of the crop here, 5 percent there. Then the last week of April it hit 23 degrees, and it eliminated everything on the tree.
"It also killed some new growing points," he said. "Everywhere we killed a flower, or killed a growing point, bacterial canker came in.
"Not only did we lose last year's crop," he said. "We lost all this fruiting for the next two years."