Long-time Kings County farmer concerned over crop damage from storm

Kirk Starratt kstarratt@kingscountynews.ca
Published on July 5, 2014
Hank Bosveld

A Lakeville farmer witnessed what storms can do to crops and hopes there won’t be a replay with Hurricane Arthur.

Long-time farmer Hank Bosveld, president of the Kings County Federation of Agriculture, said he is not only concerned for their strawberry crop but also the apple trees. They have greenhouses with plastic covering that Bosveld fears could be damaged again.

“We lost part of a greenhouse at the end of March in a rough storm,” Bosveld said. “We’ve replaced it, but that’s a worry for me, too.”

Bosveld said they have harvested about 20 per cent of their strawberry crop and he’s concerned the remainder could be damaged. A berry that would be ready to pick in a couple of weeks would be a quarter inch in diameter or less at this point. A strong enough wind could rip them off the plants.


Apple crops

Bosveld said if Kings County does get hurricane-force winds, it “could be pretty bad.” He’d be more concerned about the apple crop if the storm came in August, for example, when the fruit would be sizing up, when a storm like Arthur could knock apples off trees, cause bruising and more.

Bosveld said the storm would also cause concern to local vineyards and he feels sorry for anyone who cut their hay July 4 to be dried and bailed the following day. He said the hay could end up in another county.

Rob Peill, an apple farmer in Starr’s Point and president of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association, said it’s a little early for him to be concerned with his apple crop, although he’s happy to have the moisture from the storm. His biggest concern is newly-planted trees that could be blown over.

“We really aren’t too concerned,” Peill said. “If this were September or October, we would be having a different discussion. I’m not losing any sleep about it.”


Past storms

Bosveld recalls “a hum dinger” of a storm in early September in the mid 1950s that practically knocked all the apples off and pushed trees sideways. Soldiers from Camp Aldershot helped clean the apples up.

Another storm in the winter one year badly damaged apple trees. Bosveld said they had about 600 trees they had planted about four years earlier. The trees were pushed “almost through the ground.” It took two or three people to put the trees back up and stamp them in.

Peill said farmers with strawberries might be concerned about the rain because they probably wouldn’t be able to get to the fruit to pick it for a few days.  Downpours can cause damage to berries. He said hay and grains co