August 28, 2017 5:12 pm

Peterborough area farmers are dealing with too much rain, shrinking growing season

After a dry growing season in 2016, farmers are finding 2017 is offering its own challenges including heavy rain and reduced sunlight.

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For Peterborough area farmers, 2016 was a hot, dry growing season.

They hoped for something different this year and they got it:  Near record amounts of rainfall meant farmers could not risk entering fields to plant in case their equipment got bogged down.

READ MORE: Weather pushes Ontario farmers to brink of disaster

Even now, many farmers are struggling to get their hay crop cut as the ground in some places is still too wet to support farm implements.

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McLean’s Berry Farm, a fruit and vegetable grower north of Peterborough, can’t harvest many kinds of vegetables after it rains as they can be damaged or infected when handled before they have a chance to dry out.

And it’s not just rain: Early in August, a sudden violent hail storm heavily damaged the tomato, strawberry and pumpkin crops.

“It just did a lot of damage, and it did a lot of damage to our ever bearing strawberries as well. We’re throwing out a ton of them,” said Erin McLean.

READ MORE: GLOBAL NEWS HOUR AT 6 EDMONTON April 27 2017 8:14pm 01:56 00:00 01:56 Wet weather leaves Alberta farmers desperate for help

As August moves into September, the fear is that shorter days mean fewer daylight hours are available for farmers to harvest crops. At the same time, cooler temperatures mean growth will slow and the yield will be less. Even worse, an early frost in September would have serious consequences.

“An early frost in September, if there is one — and I hope to God there won’t be — but if there is one it will be extremely detrimental,” said farmer Bryan Haas.

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