Canadian farmer uses helicopter to save apples from freezing temperatures

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Buzz

When cold weather threatened an apple orchard near Ottawa this week, it was time to bring in the helicopters.

Phil Lyall and his partner Bob Hobson hired a helicopter to hover over their trees, blanketing the fruit in warm air when a frost warning on Tuesday left the farmers as concerned as their apples were cold, according to the CBC.

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Lyall told the broadcaster that one cold night could kill 90 per cent of the delicate crop.

These farmers aren't alone. Reports in Florida and Texas describe worried farmers using expensive helicopters to protect their crops from devastation during freezing spring temperatures.

The state of Michigan nearly lost its entire apple crop last year because of unseasonably cold spring weather, according to National Public Radio. Onlookers described the sight smoke from smudge pots and the thump of helicopters as reminiscent Apocalypse Now. This year, the broadcaster reports that crops are doing much better.

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A video posted to YouTube on Monday entitled "Frost Prevention in a Helicopter," shows a pilot flying low over a field with a description saying the helicopter is preventing frost from settling on crops.

Meanwhile, at least one farmer in Wayne County, New York, installed windmills in his fruit orchard to push the warm air downward on cold days, according to YNN.

He said the neighbours might not appreciate the noise, which is as loud as a helicopter.