Like many parts of the United States, winter is coming early and strong to Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Oregon.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the farm starting Wednesday night at 6pm farm time and running for 24 hours. We’re expecting three to nine inches of snow with temperatures lingering in the 20’s. But what we’re most worried about is our newly planted crop of Risk™ malting barley.
The young barley shoots are little more than an inch tall with shallow roots. This is the time of development when they’re most susceptible to cold damage. Tuesday night’s temperature is expected to drop to 16°F, unusually cold for this time of year. A similar cold spell last winter damaged 20 acres of Risk™ malting barley.
If we make it through Tuesday night with no problems, we may be out of danger. The temperatures are going to warm up a little bit and several inches of snow will be beneficial to our barley crop. As odd as it may sound, the snow acts like an insulating blanket, protecting the shoots from cold damage.
No one ever said it was going to be easy to be a farmer. Whatever happens, Rogue Farms remains dedicated to growing its own malting barley and creating a proprietary palate of flavors for Rogue beers, spirits, ciders and sodas.