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‘Challenging’ weather damages farm crops

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Field corn should look like the ear on the left, but lack of rain in late June and early July stopped pollination, causing stunted growth like the ear on the right. The ears are being held by Ronnie Russell, manager of Corbin Hall Farm near Water View, who said this has been a “challenging” year. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

Weather is just an inconvenience to many. But a farmer’s success or failure depends on getting the right weather at the right time.

Ronnie Russell, manager of Corbin Hall Farm near Water View, has been farming nearly 60 years and this year has been a “challenge.”

There are few other businesses that carry the risks that farming does.

Farmers pray for rain, but too much can be nearly as bad as a drought.

This growing season started with a wet cold April. “It was very challenging to get the crops in,” said Russell. He had to replant some corn that had “drowned” in water-saturated soil. “Farms to the north had acres and acres of drowned corn.”

In May it warmed up and Russell’s corn took off and looked really great, except for areas where it had drowned. Russell planted soybeans, but each time a 2 to 3 inch rain drowned the seeds.

In June, farmers in upper Middlesex got lucky with 2 weeks of warm, dry weather that let Russell harvest wheat earlier than usual with a yield that was a little above average. “We were finished by June 20; usually we are just getting started at that time.” The late soybeans went in after the wheat harvest and he got a good stand.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newsstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 07.26.2018

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