Could warm weather this winter spell trouble for West Michigan farmers?

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CONKLIN, Mich. -- West Michigan is on track to see one of the warmest winters in history. In February, warm temps can put sweat on the brows of local farmers.

Taking FOX 17 on a tour of his orchard apple and cherry farmer, Adam Dietrich points out, “You don’t see any snow and it’s February.”

With no snow and spring-like conditions, some people are thinking back to 2012.

“2012 was a tough year, I’ve done a really good job of trying to forget that," Dietrich says, "In 2012, we had almost a complete crop failure here in Michigan. Due to the abnormal winter and early spring, followed by some devastating frost in April.”

two-shotSo is Michigan on track for another crop disaster?

“Everybody’s asking that," Dietrich says.

The short answer...yes and no. Yes, we've seen some warm temps, but nothing like the weeks of 70s in 2012.

Regardless, Dietrich says farmers have taken more precautions to protect their crops.

“You see a lot more frost fans put in the orchards since 2012.”

Frost in April and May is no good, but in February and March it's what farmers are hoping for.

“As long as we can have several days in the week where we freeze still, we won’t have that rapid bud development that we saw in 2012 where we progressed to the point of no return," Dietrich explains, "and then those frosts were pretty harmful."

Dietrich says right now no one on the fruit ridge is worried, because temperatures are still dipping to freezing or below.


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