Winter Woes Challenge Growers
by Michael Kovalycsik, National Sales & Marketing Director, Delta T Solutions
The winter of 2014 will certainly go down as one of the worst in recent memory, and "polar vortex" is a term we won't forget for a while. As always, extreme winter weather can create a myriad of challenges for greenhouse growers. Michigan, in particular (the third-largest producer of floriculture crops in the U.S.), experienced record-breaking snowfall and freezing temperatures this past winter, and the Michigan State University Extension surveyed growers about the damage.
Of those who responded to the survey, 49 percent reported sustaining damage such as bending and sinking metal structures from snow load, affecting a total of 14 acres of greenhouses. Some growers, however, thwarted snow load damage by cutting greenhouse plastic to let snow fall into the greenhouse. Others heated their greenhouses to at least 50 degrees to stop snow from collecting on the roof and in the gutters, says Michigan State Extension Educator Heidi Wollaeger. But that extra heat came at a cost, at least for some growers.
DEALING WITH THE DEEP FREEZE
The extremely cold temperatures in January and February also made it hard for vegetative cutting and young plant suppliers to ship product without the plants sustaining damage. Of the growers who responded to the survey, 65 percent received vegetative cuttings that had chilling injury or were frozen.
However, when it comes to consumers' gardens this spring, Wollaeger doesn't think the harsh winter will have much of an effect. "Growers have been able to effectively catch up," she says.
Delta T Solutions has designed and manufactured customized heating solutions for greenhouse growers using hydronic (hot water radiant) heat for 30 years. To learn more about cost-effective in-ground bench and perimeter heating systems; high-efficiency boiler systems; and other systems that improve crop health, contact Delta T at 800-552-5058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
27711 Diaz Rd, Suite B, Temecula, CA 92590 • 800.552.5058 • 760.682.0428 (fax) • www.deltatsolutions.com