Wet Weather & Cold Grounds Bring Rough Start To Farming Season - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Wet Weather & Cold Grounds Bring Rough Start To Farming Season

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DELMARVA – The first day of spring farming officially started March 1st in Maryland, but this year that is technically not the case.

"Things are going to be a little later," says Geno Lowe, owner and operator of Rosewood Farms in Hebron, Maryland.

"It's too wet to get in the field right now, you have to let it dry it out even before you can spray it, fertilize it out, pat down manure," says Brian Johnson, owner and operator of Elseed Farms Inc.

Farmers say normally by this time of year they have crops like corn already planted, but as long as this weather continues, that will not happen for at least another two weeks.

Dan Shortridge, Chief of Community Relations for the Delaware Department of Agriculture says the wet winter and soggy ground have also delayed some field work for farmers, because they do not want to start too early or when the fields are too wet.

"Everything's going to be behind, from getting the corn in the ground, to the beans, to the wheat, to the beans again behind the wheat beans," says Johnson.

With the farmers being behind, they say customers may also have to a little patient when it comes to getting their hands on local produce.

"Sweet corn and vegetables will probably be a little later than usual because they'll be a little later put in the ground," says Lowe.

"I don't think there will be too much early corn this year," says Johnson. "Previous years we'll start selling in August or September and it'd be rare if that happened this year."

While farmers in both Maryland and Delaware have gotten some fertilizing done, farmers say doing it now on wet and cold ground could destroy their fields, and if the rain continues, they may have to make some changes.

"I'll probably have to switch a lot of the acre to beans, or look for a shorter season corn," says Johnson. "The trouble is everybody is going to be in the same boat, and everybody's going to be looking for the shorter season corn."

Even in the face of a soggy and cold start, Shortridge says the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is projecting that Delaware farmers will plant 185,000 acres of soybeans this year, up from last year's 165,000 acres, which will reflect slightly lower prices for corn.

In Maryland, farmers are staying positive as well.

"It's a waiting game," says Johnson. "It's something every year you go with the flow and deal with it."

"You just learn to roll with the punches and go on with it," says Lowe. "It has a way of turning around in a hurry."

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