(Barry Gerding/Black Press)

(Barry Gerding/Black Press)

Lake Country residents battle noise as farmers use choppers to keep cherry crops dry

Excess water causes the cherry to split and no longer good for harvest

  • Apr. 11, 2022 11:00 a.m.

It may be time to buy some earplugs as helicopters are out to protect the cherry crops.

Residents in Kelowna and Lake Country have been expressing frustration with the noise on social media.

Cherries soak up any water pooling around the stem from precipitation. This causes the flesh to expand more quickly than the skin, making the cherry split and no longer good to harvest.

The BC Cherry Association says the use of helicopters creates a downwash of air and blows the water of the fruit.

Helicopters are used as they are able to cover a large area over a shorter period of time, but caution is still required as too heavy winds can damage the trees.

The association says all helicopter pilots hired by BC cherry growers are subject to Transport Canada regulations. They cannot fly through the night and cannot start more than a half-hour before sunrise or end more than a half-hour after sunset.

BC Cherry Association says on its website, “As residents of this community, growers understand that helicopters can be an annoyance. We share the desire for a peaceful rural environment and dread summers of unusually high rainfall. None of us want our farming practices to have a negative effect on our neighbours, nor do we want to lose our own sleep as we fight to save our crops. But farming is our livelihood, and we thank our neighbours for their continued patience and understanding for the brief critical period of cherry harvest, and throughout the growing season.”

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