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Farmers Spray Crops Before Temperature Drop

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The cold temperature is a potentially huge trouble for crops in the place that serves as the nation's winter vegetable garden.
Gary-Nelson-600x450 Gary Nelson
Gary Nelson has been a member of the CBS4 News team since Septem...
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MIAMI (CBS4) – South Florida farmers will be up late Monday night or early Tuesday morning to protect their crops from potentially damaging cold.

A Freeze Warning has been issued for all of inland Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties from Tuesday morning from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. The lows early Tuesday are forecast to be in the lower 30s, but could drop into the mid to upper 20s when the wind chill is factored in.

The cold temperature is a potentially huge trouble for crops in the place that serves as the nation’s winter vegetable garden.

John Alger, of Alger Farms, said they lost 40 percent of their corn crop from a cold snap nearly two weeks ago. He’s hoping this time Mother Nature will be a little kinder.

“We’ll be up all night. What we’re hoping is that tomorrow morning is that it doesn’t take the rest of our foliage. Right now we’ve got just barely enough here to make a crop,” said Alger. “It’s very stressful. You have the entire living, your entire year’s revenue sitting in the field right now and you have the expenses into it and you hope you can get your money back out of it.”

Some farms in western Miami-Dade plan are using their irrigation sprayers to try and create an insulating shield over their crops.

Two weeks ago, farmers in South Miami-Dade reported some crop damage after two days of record-breaking cold temperatures.

U.S. Sugar, which has about 150 thousand acres of sugarcane in South Florida, said five days of freezing temperatures severely damaged their crop. Spokeswoman Judy Sanchez this crop was already impacted early in its growth by January’s record-smashing 12 days of deep freeze.

“These multiple hard freezes impacted 100 percent of our sugarcane crop,” said Judy Sanchez, director of corporate communications in a written release, “both the current mature 2010-11 crop and the newly planted 2011-12 crop which was burnt back to the ground.”

Sanchez estimated that they will only be able to harvest 60 percent of this year’s crop.

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