Early killer frost damages crops in parts of Lambton

Bales of hay covered in frost. March 2017. (Photo from Pxhere)

An early killer frost caused significant crop damage in parts of Lambton county over the weekend.

Lambton Grains Committee Delegate and Enniskillen Township Mayor Kevin Marriott said kidney and white beans, grown mainly in the northern and eastern part of the county, were the worst hit.

He said later planted soybeans are expected to be a complete write-off as well.

“The majority of the soybeans were fine, they were far enough advanced that there wouldn’t be any damage,” said Marriott. “Up to maybe 10 per cent of the bean crops, whether it be edible beans or soybeans, had a small amount of damage to a large amount of damage.”

There were reports that the temperature dropped as low as -2 C in parts of the county early Saturday morning.

Marriott said some corn crops were also impacted, but on a smaller scale, noting we don’t usually see frost locally until mid-October.

He said there’s nothing farmers can do about it now, and little they can do to prevent it, adding further frost won’t damage the crops any more than they already are.

“The cost of preventing frost on anything that was liable, it’s just cost-prohibitive to do that. There’s nothing that can be done to prevent that early frost or prevent the damage once it’s done.”

Marriott said it’s too early to say whether supplies will be impacted, but noted we could notice less fresh vegetables the next time we go to the local farmers’ market.

He said local crops were mostly planted at a good time, which may not be the case in places like eastern Ontario and the Niagara region which are likely worse off.