Mother Nature Damages Oklahoma Crops

Wednesday, April 11th 2007, 4:30 pm
By: News On 6

Oklahoma’s recent freezing temperatures are taking a toll on agriculture across the state. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports from apples to wheat, growers and farmers are feeling the effects of the deep freeze that threatens to put their livelihoods on ice. On a trip to Creek County he got a first hand look at the impact of the cold on Oklahoma's wine industry.

Most years the grape vines at the Nuyaka Creek Winery would be full of leaves, blooms and potential. This year is a different story.

"You have good years and you're going to have years like this. You've got to expect it if you're going to farm," said Peter Jones of the Nuyaka Creek Winery.

The grape vines at Nuyaka Creek Vineyard are brown and brittle. The cold is to blame.

"If it had been down for like 30 minutes or something they would probably have survived,” Jones said. “But when it froze from probably midnight on until 9 the next morning, they couldn't stand it."

Peter and Diane Jones with Nuyaka Creek say most of this year's crop is lost.

Although many of the grapevines and fruit trees were damaged because of our cold weather, unseasonably warm weather in March also played a role. Many of those plants bloomed early. Most of those delicate blooms and some of the new growth were then damaged when the weather got so cold. But if the plants would have waited a few more weeks to bloom, like normal, the plants may have dodged a bullet. But sometimes in agriculture timing is everything.

The winery still has a good stock of wines made in previous years. They'll really feel the impact of this year's crop loss in coming years, when they won't have as much product to sell.

"Yeah it hurts you because you put a lot of work and effort into
the thing,” said Jones. “It's pretty devastating. That's part of farming."

For now, Jones hopes some varieties will rebound from the cold and could put on a second bloom. But he's not optimistic. Even if that happens, it may not amount to much of a crop.

Last weekend's cold temperatures likely caused damage to the state's wheat crop too, but the extent of the damage won't be known for at least a week.

For more information on the Nuyaka Creek Winery click here.