The frequent and torrential rain has flooded cities and small towns across Northeastern Ohio. For those who live off the land, flooded fields have brought significant losses in product and revenue, potentially driving up grocery prices later in the season. With a scruffy beard and muddy work boots, Charles Kettering gazed over his hundreds of rolling acres near Ashland on Monday afternoon.
Among some California farmers, the heavy rain was anything but welcome. The wet weather damaged blueberries and stone fruit and delayed harvesting of some naval orange varieties. But for cherry farmers, the May weather was particularly unwelcome, as ahead of it they believed they were heading into a great 2019 harvest season.
The condition of the cotton crop here in the Panhandle is devastating according to farmers across the region. Rainfall followed by cooler weather in the month of May caused damage to many cotton plants in their earliest stage. It’s very fragile during that point and time. Cotton needs heat and warm soil temperatures to produce good root establishment for the plants.
Amid the hot weather baking much of California this week, the spate of rain and hail that hit the state last month may have faded from memory—but not for farmers who continue to tally damage from the spring storms. Farmers, pest control advisers and agricultural commissioners report damage to crops including onions, tomatoes, cherries and cotton, either directly from hail or as a result of diseases brought by wet weather at an inopportune time.
Fruit sizes and prices look good for California avocados, but an intense heat wave last July took a steep toll on crop volumes. Early estimates put the 2019 harvest at 175 million pounds, said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission in Irvine. That's down considerably from 337.8 million pounds in the 2017-18 crop year.
All corn acres in the U.S. have passed final planting days, meaning they are eligible for prevent plant acres. As of last week, there was only 67 percent of corn planted nationally and only 80 percent of corn in Iowa. Prevented planting is a crop insurance farmers use to protect from delays. After a certain time of year some crops lose a lot of yield because of few remaining growing days.
More and more it appears that tall, healthy corn won’t be part of the rural landscape here and in many parts of the continental United States this summer. Instead that familiar image of America’s idyllic countryside will give way to one of barren fields and overgrown weeds. That’s the sad assessment of some area farmers and agricultural experts who see no way out of a looming national crisis brought on by this year’s relentless spring rain.
The polar vortex that enveloped much of the Midwest early this year has nearly wiped out the peach crop in southwestern Michigan. And it’s not just peaches, which Michigan is known for. Some of the region’s apricot, plum and apple crops also might be affected after the blast of polar air plummeted temperatures to minus 20 degrees in late January around the state.
Record-breaking rain this past May has already delayed many rice farmers in Butte County this year, and has left some uncertain about the year’s harvest yields. As of the end of May, rainfall for this year is at 130 percent of average for the period since October as reported by the Department of Water Resources.
Michigan corn farmers could lose out on crop insurance coverage if they didn’t have seeds in the ground by Wednesday’s deadline. Many areas are still too wet preventing farmers from planting. Beginning Thursday, farmers who get crop insurance, or pay to have their plants protected against severe weather or decline in prices, could lose 1% of their per-acre coverage every day their land is bare.
As the flood waters begin to recede across the state, residents and business owners are left to assess the damage. For Darren Perry, the loss feels insurmountable. This is Perry’s first year as a commercial farmer. He lost all of his corn and most of the wheat crop, which was worth more than $1 million.
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