Busy week for a lot of local farmers

Some are a bit behind schedule when it comes to planting, but there’s plenty of time to get things in the ground.
Planting was delayed for many farmers because of the April weather
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 7:38 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - You may be enjoying the recent stretch of sunshine and warmer temperatures. A lot of farmers are fans of it, too. This has been a busy week as many of them work to get crops in the ground.

Agriculture is one of the biggest sectors of the economy in Michigan and Ohio as successful crops are critical to our region.

Things are a bit behind schedule for many farmers but they’re making up for lost ground right now.

“It’s pretty much go time. You could say the green flag has been dropped now,” said Jason Heerdegen, manager of the Ottawa Lake Co-Op said.

As a farmer himself, Heerdegen said April lived up to its billing this year on a lot of local farm fields with quite a few rainy days.

“April started out cold and wet. The ground is just starting to get in good shape on the tiled ground. Some of the marginal fields are a little damp yet, but we’re heading in the right direction, for sure. Some farmers were able to plant about 10 days ago. We need 10 days to two weeks to get everything done, so if we can get within that window shortly, we’ll be okay. If we’re wrapped up by Memorial Day, or the first of June, that’s a win,” Heerdegen said.

The wet fall last year also means some farmers have extra work to get the ground ready this year.

“The wet fall put us behind this year. We’ve got a lot of weed control to handle, and we’re having to handle tillage from the ruts left. You just can’t drop plants and go this year,” Heerdegen said.

And it doesn’t take much distance to make a big difference when it comes to rain.

“ Somebody might get one inch of rain. Someone else may only get a tenth of an inch. It’s starting to be the season of scattered rain, so just a mile or two can make a difference in those who can keep planting and those who are shut down because of the wet weather,” Heerdegen said.

All that means most farmers are having to pack a lot of work into a shorter time frame.

“The anxious meter gets a little higher right now. Farmers have a lot at stake. We’re in a period of decent crop prices. It’s our livelihood so you want to get it done right and timely. We’re a little behind, but by no means is it time to panic,” Heerdegen said.

Even with the tighter timetable this year, farmers will most likely be able to make up time down the stretch.

“We’re planting shorter varieties that are based on day length, so we’ll have plenty of time to get the crops mature with average summer and fall. Even with all the challenges, this is the best job in the world. You just have to stay calm, enjoy the day and enjoy what you do,” Heerdegen said.

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