Okanagan orchard left rigid after worst season in 11 years

Lake Country’s Witzke Orchards looks to bounce back after poor weather destroys crops

An Okanagan orchard is working to recover lost crops after their worst season in the past decade.

Witzke Orchards in Lake Country grows cherries, pears, apricots and others through the year, and are experiencing the same troubles as many other local orchards with the increase of rain to start the summer.

“Cherries are splitting because of the rain and we’ve lost crops,” said Keith Barth with Witzke Orchards.

“You can’t really put a money value on the losses, and we really won’t know the damage until the season is over.”

Witzke Orchards recently lost their entire apricot crop in February after the cold snap through the month froze and destroyed the harvest. Apricots are harvested once a year, and the orchard will take a couple years to bounce back to full crop sizes.

Though they should have a smaller apricot crop next year, Barth said they lost close to $50,000 because of the damage to the apricot trees.

READ MORE: 10th year for South Okanagan Cherry Pit Contest

READ MORE: Possibly worst Okanagan cherry season in 20 years

Other orchards in the Okanagan have reported record losses in cherry crops due to splitting this year as well, with the Okanagan’s Kempf Orchards reporting to have loss 50 to 60 per cent of early cherry crops to splitting this year.

“We keep an eye on the forecast, and adapt and react as they day goes by. After each rain, we get out and dry them off,” said Barth.

“Usually, we never have rain that lasts more than 30 minutes at a time, but when (there’s) 12 hours of straight rain, there’s little hope. You really can’t predict Mother Nature.”

READ MORE: Family restores 63-year-old Okanagan boat to original glory

Though it’s not all doom and gloom for Witzke Orchards. Their pear crops are looking good this season and they know that poor seasons like 2019 rarely happen, and they are determined to bounce back.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rain in forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap region

Mixed bag of clouds, sun and showers forecast for the week ahead

Summerland once had college campus

From 1906 to 1915, Summerland’s Okanagan College operated in the community

Summerland holds multiple events to launch festive season

Festival of Lights, Light Up the Vines and Sip ’n’ Shop will be held in late November and December

PET OF THE WEEK: Moose still needs a home

Critteraid cat wants a nice, quiet environment

RDOS cannabis production bylaw goes to public hearing

Hearing on micro cannabis production facilities will be held Nov. 21

Election 2019: Robert Mellalieu — Green Party candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Robert Mellalieu is running for the Green Party in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

Roads contractor waits for snow removal equipment as winter looms

The newly-hired highway maintenance company serving the region is hitting some bumps… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Okanagan Lotto 649 ticket matches five of six numbers and bonus

Ticket in Saturday’s draw bought in Vernon and is worth nearly $32,000

Hundreds turn out for Singh, NDP candidate rally in Penticton

The messaging was clear, NDP “chooses you”

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Most Read