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Okanagan cherry crop threatened by recent heavy rain

The heavy rain that hit southern B.C. earlier this week has sent cherry producers in the Okanagan scrambling to save their crops.

Farmers hiring helicopters to blow the moisture off the trees before fruit splits from moisture

Heavy rain in the Okanagan this week is threatening to ruin the cherry crop. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

The heavy rain that hit southern B.C. earlier this week has sent cherry producers in the Okanagan scrambling to save their crops.

U-pick farmer Allan Arndt says all the moisture causes the cherries to split open, and is threatening to ruin the crop right at the peak of a great cherry season.

"The problem with rain is they can just bust right open, which as you can see right here. It's already starting to do it. The cherry itself can only take so much water and then that's it. It goes," he says.

Arndt says he may take his air-sprayer out to blow the rain off his crop. He's also hoping Mother Nature helps out with a bit of free wind.

Others are hiring helicopters to fly low over their orchards to blow the moisture off the trees, at a cost of several hundred dollars an hour. Farmer Sonia Sandhu says they have to do whatever they can to save the crop.   

"It's a huge concern, because the crop that needs to come off right now is the most vulnerable. The bigger the cherry the faster it will crack with the water."

Either way, they say it will take a few days to determine how extensively the crop is damaged.

                               

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