DeVaney: Extreme Heat Has Had An Impact On Cherry Crop, Workers

While the exact numbers have yet to be determined, experts say the extreme heat the Northwest experienced to wrap up June will have an impact on this year’s fruit crop. Jon DeVaney Executive Director of the Washington state Tree Fruit Commission said dealing with triple digit temperatures this early in the summer is unusual. And on top of that, temperatures in to the upper 110’s is unheard of for the region.

“It’s going to be hard to fully assess the cumulative affect, but we do know there has been effects on fruit, some fruit that was around the edges of the tree where it was exposed for full sun and maximum heat has been damaged and we’ll probably see some of that fruit not get picked, which could slightly reduce our cherry crop this year.”

DeVaney said when it comes to workers health, owners and managers spent a lot of their effort during the heat making sure pickers and other employees were staying safe and hydrated. He noted cherry workers can make a lot of money this time of year, so to protect their overall health, water and rest breaks are strictly enforced.

“That’s part of the reason that the state’s heat regulation requires training and monitoring in these high temperature summer months to make sure that everyone is aware of the dangers of heat stress and that we’re watching for those conditions so that no one just pushes on through until it creeps up on them and they have a potential health risk.”

DeVaney said while it appears the extreme heat had an impact on cherries, it’s still too early to determine what, if any impact it will have on the region’s apple crop.

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