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Valley’s agriculture community preparing for heat wave

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KTVZ

By Brian Johnson

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    FRESNO, California (KFSN) — Central California is bracing for a streak of triple-digit days that go above and beyond our typical summer heat.

“This is probably a heatwave we see once every couple of years,” says Andy Bollenbacher. “Unfortunately, with the drought, it just exacerbates everything, so the heat waves get worse and worse and worse.”

The scorching hot conditions could spell trouble for some in the Valley’s vital agriculture community.

“These 110 degree-plus days for extended periods of time aren’t exactly normal, so there’s some heightened concern there,” says Kings County Farm Bureau Executive Director Dusty Ference.

Ference says safety comes first when it gets this hot.

That means earlier starts or shorter days for those working in the fields and extra care given to livestock, especially cows.

“Misters will be running, fans will be on, we’ll be doing everything we can to keep cows cool and healthy,” Ference said. “A lot of dairymen will milk one less time during the day because production can be affected by heat.”

Ference says tree crops, such as citrus and nuts, are especially susceptible to sunburn when extreme heat sets in.

Irrigation is also essential to preventing crop losses.

“We’re in the middle of the growing season, so we got to make sure that we don’t stress our plants so that they drop fruit or nuts,” Ference said. “We got to keep all our row crops wet. We don’t want those plants dying in the field in this high heat.”

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