Virginia: Freezes, Snow, and Some Corn Planting – USDA

Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending April 10, 2016.

REPORTER COMMENTS BY COUNTY – Comments are based on remarks made by extension agents, farmers, commodity specialists, and other knowledgeable individuals.


FREDERICK (Mark Sutphin) We have experienced several freeze events in the Shenandoah Valley, most notably the mornings of 4-6 and 4-10. The temperatures observed were low enough to damage tree fruit crops, grapes, and some early vegetable crops.

ROCKINGHAM (Doug Horn) High winds were experienced all week. Surface moisture has dried down significantly. Hay fields experienced some freeze damage.


ALLEGHANY (Andy Allen) Snow on 4/9/16, 20 – 22 degrees on 4/10/16

HIGHLAND (Rodney Leech) Strong winds, cold temperatures and snow showers dominated the weather this week. Budding and grass growth had a big setback on progress. Livestock feeding continues, and in some cases animals went back on full feed for the week.

ROCKBRIDGE (Thomas A Stanley) Cooler than normal temperatures with a hard freeze on Sunday morning characterized the week, causing some damage in early apples and spring vegetables. Pastures and hay fields are slightly ahead of normal growth and many cattle producers have stopped feeding hay.


CAROLINE (Mike Broaddus) Although it still looks good, recent sub-freezing temperatures may have damaged some small grains. The recent sub-freezing temps also may have had an impact on corn that had already been planted.

CHESTERFIELD (Charlotte Maxwell) We had a bit of a cold snap this week with below freezing night temperatures for multiple nights in a row. No reports from farmers on any issues resulting from those cold nights.

FLUVANNA (John Thompson) The second night of hard freezing temperatures in a week, after a strong early bud break, has seriously damaged the apple, peach and grape crops. The peach crop in Fluvanna is estimated at a 100% loss, apples 50-75% loss and grapes vary from estimates of 40-90% loss depending on the varietal.

HENRICO (Charles Lively) There were two instances of frost this reported week.

NELSON (Michael LaChance) Freezing temperatures have affected the 2016 apple, peach, nectarine, cherry, strawberry and wine grape crops. Full extent of damage will be assessed this week and the following. Tree fruit producers are preparing for crop thinning, if needed. Vineyard owners are assessing damage to expanded buds and emerging shoots. Strawberries are entering into markets.


ESSEX (Keith Balderson) Cold and windy conditions hampered fieldwork last week. Most producers held off planting corn and will start this week. Low temperatures on Wednesday morning created some concern that this may have caused some winter kill to the small grain crop. Assessments will be made this week.

GLOUCESTER (David Moore) Cool temperatures and rain have slowed or delayed corn planting. Some folks are not stopping. Next week looks like a good week to get underway with planting. Wheat and barley especially were damaged some by early week’s cold snap. Temperatures in the mid 20’s at night may have damaged some wheat, but barley may have experienced the most damage as some were heading. Time will tell as to the extent. Land prep for corn planting continues. Burndowns, lime and fertilizer applications, and nitrogen applications on wheat are the activities of the week. Grain prices showed some signs of life at the end of last week, but have settled back again to boring levels.

LANCASTER (Trent Jones) Sub-freezing temperatures were reached several times in the past week.

NORTHAMPTON (Ursula Deitch) There was a hard freeze this week and it substantially damaged emerged potatoes. The plants will regenerate, however as a result of the frost, a reduction of yield and delayed harvest will occur. Grapes at local vineyards were also damaged from the frost and could see a potential loss of yield up to 50%. We have not seen the damage done to the winter wheat and barley by the frost, but a reduction in quality or yield could occur.

WESTMORELAND (Stephanie Romelczyk) Low temperatures on Wednesday morning were reported around 27 degrees in Westmoreland County which damaged open blossoms on fruit trees and plants, as well as barley that was heading.


CARROLL (Steve Pottorff) Temperatures dropped in the low 20s Saturday night which may affect tree fruit yields.

FLOYD (Jon Vest) Sustained freezing temps this week are potentially impacting fruit crops.

TAZEWELL (John Blankenship) This spring has been unusually dry. It is nice that there is no mud but it is dusty and grass is slower coming out.


PATRICK (Travis Bunn) Cold snap over the weekend caused damage to fruit crops in bloom.


BRUNSWICK (Cynthia Gregg) The warmer temperatures had crops jumping, but this week’s cold snap has slowed things down quite a bit. Crops are being monitored for damage and some plants are showing some cold injury. Producers are getting lime and fertilizer spread as soon as they can get into fields. Some fields still have wet spots and some showers this week have kept some spots wet.

CHESAPEAKE CITY (Watson Lawrence Jr.) Cold temperatures and a freeze early this week delayed corn planting. Farmers are gearing to start planting this weekend as fields dry out. Field tillage has begun midweek. There is some damage to small strawberry fruits and flowers that were not frost protected this week. Damage to wheat heads above ground is unknown at this point. Majority of wheat is at jointing stage now.

PRINCE GEORGE (Scott Reiter) This week growers finished up nitrogen applications to wheat. Some freeze injury was noted in barley that had headed out prior to last week’s freeze. The extent of damage is not yet known. Some corn was planted this week to get equipment setup to roll once temperatures warm up.

General Comments

Days suitable for fieldwork were 5.6. Weather conditions turned wintry with freezing temperatures and snow in parts of the State, damaging crops. Farming activities for the week included planting corn and trying to protect crops from frost by using various methods; now producers are assessing the damage to crops including fruit, barley, corn, potatoes, and wheat.


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