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Excess rain becoming a problem for area farmers

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT
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OTTAWA LAKE, Mich. (WTVG) - Farmers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan will need a string of dry days if they want to get into the fields any time soon.

“We’ve gotten more than a foot of rain so far for the fall season, and it’s been quite a tough one for farmers,” Jason Heerdegen, the manager of Ottawa Lake co-op said. “Even if they can get into the fields, it’s a challenge. There’s a lot to do yet. Some guys aren’t even half done. We need time to get this crop out of the ground.”

But more rain is expected later this week, meaning that timeline will have to move into November.

The late finish could be a problem for winter wheat crops, or even a later start to planting season next spring.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and this is the wettest I’ve seen,” Heerdegen said. “We work with a lot of older farmers, and they’re referring back to 1972, maybe ‘92, so it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen this kind of challenge.”

A freeze could make the soil firm, and allow equipment into the fields, but snow could be a disaster.

“You have to be concerned about snow. If we get any kind of snow, we can’t harvest,” Heerdegen said. “So the ground might be frozen, but if we a couple of inches of snow, we can’t go out there either because if it sticks to the plant, it’ll plug up the combine.”

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