Challenging Growing Season Alters Farming Techniques

by Emily Baird on August 15, 2010 at 11:51 am

While many of us have been complaining about summer’s unbearable heat, it’s one of many issues farmers have faced during this year’s growing season, and these issues have prompted farmers to alter their farming techniques.

"Basically, we live with the weather, and we’ll deal with what we get,"
says local farmer Richard Schroeder.

It all started in late spring. Farmers faced a late frost on May 9th.

"That kind of altered things because I already had tomatoes in the field and that presented a problem,but we covered them with roll covers and were able to save the crop," says Schroeder.

But farmers were also dealing with flooding from late May to early June that brought a lot of disease with it.

"It brought late blite really early into the Ohio tomato crop. There’s a lot of powdery mildew on the cantelopes, cucumbers, pickles, and watermelons,"
says local farmer Mark Barnhart.

With all that rain, it made it difficult to tend to crops.

"Every time you try to cultivate, you get a tractor stuck. You can only ask the neighbor to pull you out so many times," says Barnhart.

The heat has brought about a shortage of beans because it didn’t give plants a chance to pollinate. It’s also pushed plants two-weeks ahead of schedule.

"What people need to realize is when that happens on the front-end, it also happens on the back-end. We’re going to see an earlier end to the season,"
says Schroeder.

If dealing with the weather isn’t enough…the deer population is making farmers angry.

"They’ve eaten an acre of green beans…Thousands and thousands of it," says Barnhart.

It’s been a challenging growing season that’s some farmers are saying has cost them between $25,000 and $30,000.

Schroeder says he will continue with some late planting to help compensate for his loss, but Barnhart says he’s throwing in the towl and hoping next year will yield better results.