Floods Put Farmers Behind On Spring Crops

05/12/11 12:04PM By Melody Bodette

(Host) The rain that brought record flooding to Lake Champlain is causing problems for the region's farmers.

The wet, cold spring means many farmers are behind when it comes to planting spring crops.
And for the state's dairy farmers that means they're waiting to plant corn to feed their cows.

Heather Darby is a forage specialist with the University of Vermont Extension. She says farmers are stressed because for the past few years many have been done with planting by the end of April.

Darby says the soil in many areas hasn't dried out and reached the temperatures needed to plant crops.

While this week's dry weather has helped, Darby says a lot of farmers are a few weeks - to even a month - behind schedule.

(Darby) "We have to have at least a week of dry weather, to dry out the fields, which we've had, so people are working them up and spreading manure, and then they have to plant. So I think if the weather holds we'll be ok, if we get another rainy bout of weather, we could be in trouble."

(Host) Darby says farmers will plant varieties of corn that have shorter seasons, or shift to other crops like sorghum or millet. And many are trying to catch up:

(Darby) "People are working extremely long hours, you know, I was on the road this morning around six and people were already out there planting corn."

(Host) Bob Paquin of the Farm Service Agency says his office is hearing reports of flooded and damaged fields throughout the state. And he says farmers who've experienced unusual flooding should get in touch with their county offices.

Tags

lake_champlain_flood flooding, dairy_farmers, agriculture business environment cities
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