Producers in northern Michigan grow a variety of fruits, but tart cherries – sour cherries – are one of their biggest crops. Fickle spring weather has resulted in extreme temperatures that cause crop damage…and in some cases, catastrophic loss. Now, researchers are looking at how to use an old technology in new ways to reduce damage.
The technology? Misters, similar to those used in the produce section of your local grocery idea. It’s an idea adapted from field trials using sprinklers, research which dates back to the 1970s. Now, software calculates when water is needed, making the adapted technology more cost-effective and sustainable.
But can growers afford the equipment?
Peter Payette reports for NPR’s The Salt:
Matt Grieshop, also at Michigan State, says if it can prevent some frost damage, that could be a game changer.
“If you can save one crop of apples, the system has paid for itself,” he says.
And Greishop says the cooling could be useful in warm climates, too, where frost isn’t a problem, but excess heat is.