- Last Updated on 08:45 AM 02/06/12
- BY Tiffany Hudson
Could the spring-like weather experienced this winter cause a damper on upcoming crops?
With temperatures in the upper 60s and 70s in January and February, farmers have been able to get outside this winter and do more work on the farm without battling the frigid winter weather.
However, cooler weather may be in the offing, according to weather forecasters who are predicting temperature highs in the coming week to be in the 50s.
According to Halifax County Farm Bureau President Scott Crowder, the elders always said cold winters were better … but he is quick to add, the warm temperatures sure have been enjoyable.
“I personally like the warmer weather because I’ve been able to get so much work done. I believe it is a trend we’re going through right now, but I do think we could benefit from a decent snow or decent rain at least from the water table standpoint,” said Crowder.
Crowder said warm temperatures in January and trending into February isn’t the first time the county has been through a warm winter. He recalled the early 90s when a similar trend occurred.
“It was back in the 90s we went through the same thing. We had several warm winters back to back,” he added.
The warmer temperatures are courtesy of the weather phenomenon La Nina, which is when ocean temperatures are below normal causing the above normal warmer weather, according to meteorologist Anita Silverman at the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.
And don’t expect abundant snow falls in February, Silverman predicted.
“We’re still below average compared to our 30 year normal, but there is no signal of significant precipitation in the future. We’ll stay on the milder side,” said Silverman.
Meanwhile, Crowder, a tobacco, cattle and poultry farmer, said he is leaving the weather up to a higher power.
“Anything can happen as far as the weather is concerned. Only the good Lord knows what’s going to happen,” he said.
Halifax County Agriculture Development Director Leah Brown agrees.
“Right now the only concern is with the beekeepers who are worried that the warm weather will cause everything to bloom out and die before spring which will be bad for the bees and pollinating. Otherwise, I don’t think the warm weather is going to really have any effect on the crops,” said Brown.
“It will all determine how the weather is in March and April when the farmers have to get back out to the fields, and sometimes the wrath of winter comes in March with our biggest snow storms,” she added.
Don Reese of Reese’s Farm Fresh Produce said he isn’t concerned and doesn’t believe the mild winter will have much of an effect on his produce.
“It’s been bad on our strawberries, but other than that I don’t think it will affect much of anything,” said Reese.
La Nina is expected to continue well into the spring, said Silverman.