Vegetable Farmers Struggle With Cooler Weather

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

EATON RAPIDS (WILX)-- Farmers can't ever seem to catch a break. Last year a warm March was followed by an April freeze, which was then followed by a summer drought. This time around it's been wet and cooler than average, causing crops to be behind schedule.

Mother nature hit vegetable farmers early this year with the rain, says Eaton Rapids farmer Henry Pray.

"When we got the crop planted some of it got washed away. Probably twenty percent of our crops were drowned in some places," said Pray, owner of Pray Farms.

The early rains put vegetable farmers about a week behind. At Pray Farms they are just now starting to harvest the bulk of their sweet corn and melons.

"We can't just call a warehouse and order more sweet corn. It's what comes off the fields."

The rain was just the start to a tough season. Currently, the cold nights are the biggest problem for vegetable farmers.

"The cool weather seems nice for workers, but the crop is still ripening."

In the cooler weather vegetables don't mature as fast as they should be. If it continues it could affect not only the size of produce, but the taste as well.

If the cooler weather isn't creating enough of a problem, there's been more disease than normal this year. It's because of the rains, according to the Michigan Farm Bureau.

"Fungus is always a problem. Not necessarily for our corn, but for our melons," said Pray.

Pray says it's not going to be the biggest crop this year. But even with the wet and cold weather, he thinks he'll be able to harvest enough to have an average year.

"I haven't had to raise prices yet. We just have to work harder to get the produce to the customer."


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