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Michigan weather tough on crops during strawberry season

Michigan weather tough on crops during strawberry season
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Monday is the last day of spring and after a cooler-than-average season, Mid-Michigan farmers are happy with the summer temperatures. However, some farmers are facing another hurdle. The heat could determine if the strawberry picking season is short and sweet.

When it comes to strawberries, Geoffrey and Christy Huhn -- owners of Huhn Strawberry Farm in Eagle Township -- said they have got two things on their minds.

“Heat and the lack of rain are the two items,” said Huhn.

However, if you asked the Huhn family a month ago what the main concern was, they’d tell you the cool spring. For most Michigan crops cooler temps slow crop growth.

“Whenever we push the ripening process it doesn’t matter if it’s strawberries or apples or corn or soybeans it generally hurts the yield,” said Huhn.

Currently, farmers have their eyes on this week’s forecast. It’s looking hot and dry. That’s not desirable for peak strawberry picking season. Desirable temps are usually somewhere between 50-degree nights and 80-degree days. This week we could reach the mid-90s.

The recent heat has already ripened the strawberries a little sooner than farmers want. Christy Huhn said this week could determine their size.

“With this week’s heat, we’re wondering if they’re going to ripen at whatever size they are before they get to the size they should be,” said Huhn.

Right now, they’re finding strawberries to be a little smaller than normal.

“The berries can’t mature properly if they don’t have enough moisture and the moisture been a little below normal for the last couple of three weeks,” said Huhn.

And with the lack of rain, farmers have had to do things they normally wouldn’t do in June, like irrigating. The Huhns will irrigate their field Tuesday night.

“Usually you can get by without irrigating most months of June but it’s been on the dry side.”

However, even with the dry streak, pickers at Huhn farm pick more than a ton of strawberries every day.

Huhn Farm is open from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. The best picking time is early morning and late evening.

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