Alaska Farmers See Fewer Crops With Summer's Cold Weather | Alaska Dispatch
Cold weather in Southcentral Alaska isn't just affecting people's moods. It's seriously hurting vegetable crops in the Matanuska Susitna Valley, one of the state's major farming regions.
Most crops are several weeks behind schedule, according to farmers, the result of a chilly spring and a summer that’s nearly breaking cold-temperature records.
Not enough degree days...
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics through July 29, Palmer has only had 325 “degree days” this year, 112 days below average. A degree day is not an actual 24-hour day, but instead a unit of measurement defining ideal growing periods -- periods that are neither too hot nor too cold.
Sue Benz, with the USDA Alaska Agricultural Statistics Service, tried to put that into perspective. In 2004, a great growing year by most accounts (Benz grew full-size apples in her apple trees), there were 640 degree days through the end of July.