Dorian causes severe damage to Annapolis Valley crops
Published Tuesday, September 10, 2019 8:54PM ADT
The situation in the Annapolis Valley has been described as "dire" by farmers.
When you pass by apple orchards, some seem fine, but on closer inspection you see that there are more apples on the ground than in the trees.
At one apple orchard in Pereau - the season's harvest is on the ground. It's a loss, says the producer, of 80 per cent of his revenue.
Just down the road in Greenwich, the picture is slightly different as trees toppled over taking their supports with them.
"It's three weeks before harvest," says producer Andrew Bishop. "Are those apples going to be any good for any other uses?"
Bishop isn't sure yet because, besides what's on the ground, what's still left in the trees is also damaged.
"That's a penetration so that apple will rot," he says, pointing at an apple damaged when post tropical cyclone Dorian swept through the Valley. "That also will be not useable for anything."
And it's not just apples, it's his pear trees too. Some of his plum trees were ripped out from the ground -- with many future harvests destroyed in one fell swoop.
Larry Lutz of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association says the last major storm to wreak this much havoc with crops in the Valley was Hurricane Edna in September 1954.
"We lost 25 to 30 per cent of our highest value variety which is Honeycrisp," Lutz said. "We lost 70 per cent of our next highest variety which is Sweetango, and some of the other varieties such as Ambrosia we lost 50 per cent."
Other agricultural sectors are affected too. Corn fields were in tatters, with stalks broken and bent.
Liberal election candidate Kody Blois has been talking to other farmers in the area.
"Some of the dairy farmers I spoke to in Grand Pre, they're just dealing with no power at this point," said Blois, a candidate in Kings-Hants."The vineyards, we certainly see from them a lot of leaf loss in the grapes which play a factor in the sugar and content of the grapes."
In a region where everything depends on agriculture, the trickle-down effect will be felt.
"We're an apple co-operative," said David Parrish of Scotian Gold. "So we're owned by 35 growers in the Annapolis Valley and we store, pack, and market the fruit for our growers. So, this kind of year, where there's not a normal crop, then we certainly have overhead that we have to cover, which makes it difficult."
It's also ready been a difficult time for farmers here, with a wet spring slowing down growth.
That comes one year after an early frost devastated many crops in June 2018.
That's back-to-back difficult years for an industry that's already tough on a good day.
Nova Scotia fruit growers are busy assessing the damage so they haven't put in an official as yet for financial assistance from government officials, but federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was in the Halifax area Tuesday talking about Dorian. He was once minister of agriculture and he said there are government funds that farmers can access, it's just a matter of how much they'll need.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Heidi Petracek.