Eastern Ontario farmers struggling to deal with wet cool summer
It’s another day of working the family farm for Ross Turner unlike last year, when rain was worth almost as much as gold to farmers. This year, all the rainfall has been the problem.
“Everything needs sun, and we’ve had not that many sunny days. I think it’s put everything behind a bit — barley, normally would be combined the first of August, and it’s just barely ready now. ”
Ross and his wife Dianne own Junedale Farm just outside of Mallorytown, and say many crops were late getting in the ground. They grow mostly soy, barley and corn.
Ross says the shorter grow season means some crops are maturing later than usual.
“Corn needs lots of heat, and we always worry about early frost because if the frost hits it before it’s at a certain stage of maturity, then it won’t dry down. ”
Wet fields have also been problematic for hay. After it’s cut, it needs time to dry in the field.
“There’s people still trying to get hay off, and when you’re doing hay, the wheels are glistening wet the whole time so you’re trying to dry hay on wet ground. And if you rake it and it rains on it again, very hard to get dry a second time and that’s the end of it.”
The Turners say despite the shorter, wetter grow season, their crops are doing alright, but the same can’t be said for all farmers in the area, and it could be a particularly difficult year for those farmers who don’t have insurance.
Dianne says crop insurance is essential with the widely varying summers of the last two years.
“We know a number of people who don’t get crop insurance and with the weather patterns the last few years, you absolutely have to.”
And while a number of farmers will be relying on crop insurance this year, farmers are also optimists, and hoping next year will be better.
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