Cold temperatures benefit Wisconsin agriculture - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Cold temperatures benefit Wisconsin agriculture

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WAUSAU (WAOW) - Frigid temperatures are sweeping across Central Wisconsin again, but this cold does have some positives. It's helping our environment.

"Cold temperatures that are important argonomically to farmers and the crops they grow because in the northern climates we have extreme cold that reduce pests," said Duane Maatz, the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association's executive director.

The association found deep frost kills harmful pathogens by the billions.

"Everything from insects, the insects themselves, the larvae, the eggs they might lay, but not only that the disease organisms," said Maatz.

One thing the cold kills is Emerald Ash Borers, a pathogen that spreads throughout the roots of an ash tree and destroys it.

"We have 700,000 ash trees in the state of Wisconsin and we'd like to see them all survive,” said Maatz.

The director says these bugs and pathogens aren't originally from Wisconsin.

"The only way they'd get here would be weather patterns typically from southern climates," said Maatz.

But they make their way up and try to harvest, until they're hit by those freezing temperatures.

"If they're above the snow pack, hiding in the wood piles or in the trees, a lot of these insects will die because of the cold," said Dan Marzu, the UW Extension Agriculture Development Educator.

UW Extension educators say there are downfalls to the cold when it comes to farming.

"Cold weather does kill crops," said Marzu.

These insects also find ways to bury and hide from this polar plunge.

"Down underneath the snow pack things are pretty warm,” said Marzu. “Snow makes one heck of an insulator."

For now, those insects are staying underground, keeping the environment healthy and farmers happy.

The association's director also says bugs and pesticides killed off now can help save thousands of plants and trees in the spring.

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