Farmers prepare crops for cold temps in Central Alabama


BREMEN, Ala. (WIAT) — The cold snap has some central Alabama farmers worried about the cool temperatures, which could harm their crops. They can’t bring them inside like most people can do with pets and plants.

Farmers like Jeremy Calvert in Bremen, Alabama are laying tarps and sheets over their crops to keep them warm. If the crops are harmed or die, he says they lose money.

“To somebody that works an hourly job, it would be the equivalent of you continuing to work for two or three weeks and not getting paid,” Calvert said.

Calvert has been farming for more than 20 years.

“I enjoy the field work part of things. I’ve always enjoyed that,” Calvert said.

He grows all kinds of fruits like strawberries, peaches, and blackberries, even vegetables like cabbage and collard greens. But cold temperatures can take cause serious harm to them.

“Six hours at 28 degrees will take out the entire crop. One hour at 31 degrees is a different matter,” Calvert said.

He says the vegetables he grows should be ok with the current temperatures Thursday night, as long as it doesn’t get below 20 degrees; however, his fruit crops are a different story.

“But all of our fruit crops are extremely susceptible to cold weather. They just can’t handle it,” Calvert said.

In order to be a great farmer, Calvert says you have to plan accordingly.

“We plan months ahead to be able to do this at the necessary time,” Calvert said.

The sheets Calvert lays across his strawberries and other crops help keep them 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperatures; however, keeping them covered isn’t easy.

“Because these covers can’t be handled wet. They can’t be handled when it’s windy,” Calvert said.

“So, if the wind’s blowing a whole lot, then you got a real big kite,” Calvert said.

He says it can get expensive to replace them, too.

“You are looking somewhere between $800 and $1000. So, if one tears, that’s cost you got to deal with.”

But through the work and cold weather, Calvert is ready to watch his crops continue to bloom.

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