Late Spring Freeze Limits State Strawberry, Grape, Corn Yield

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

A late spring freeze damaged more than Nebraska's mainstay corn crops. Growers say the freeze wiped out the state's strawberries and hit vineyard grapes hard.

The May 16th freeze that sent temperatures as low as the upper 20s in parts of southeast Nebraska wiped out most strawberry crops. Beverly Schaefer, who owns Roca Berry Farm with her husband, says their two-acre patch was destroyed. Schaefer says not only did the freeze take away her strawberry revenue, it also means the loss of berry-picking jobs for about 30 local teens.

Area vineyards report 30 to 50 percent losses to their grape crops from the freeze.

Corn farmers can expect to take a hit on yields from the freeze. DuPont Pioneer seed account manager Ron German says the frost hit mainly from the Bennet area southeast to around Tecumseh. German says about 10 percent of plants in affected fields won't recover and those that survive likely will yield 20 to 25 percent less corn.

Experts are not recommending replanting in most cases because the late start on replanted corn also would mean reduced yields. German says only about five percent of fields were hit hard enough for replanting to pay off.

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