Monday, June 7, 2010

2010 Farm season

Cool Weather slows Farm Season
by Nishi Gupta
Idaho's Newschannel 7
CANYON COUNTY -- The cooler, wetter weather is causing problems for area farmers.Their crops haven't seen much sun lately, and in some cases those crops are still underground, when they should have emerged from the ground weeks ago.

"I raise sugar beets, dry beans, and corn that we term the row crops, and then some wheat and a little bit of alfalfa hay," said farmer Leonard Andrew.

You would think this Canyon County farmer would have his hands full with all those crops, but some haven't seen the light of day. Nearly 20 acres of his sugar beets had to be thrown away because they didn't break ground.

And his corn is weeks behind - only three inches high when it should be a foot. "The cold weather. They (beets) didn't know which to grow normally, they grow up toward the warmth but there wasn't any warmth for them to grow toward," said Andrew.

And April and May showers haven't helped either. Too much of it leaves crops like alfalfa hay too wet to be profitable."We don't need the rains help to produce a crop here. This is a desert. We plan on irrigating the crops," said Andrew.

The Idaho Farm Bureau represents nearly 13,000 farmers in the state, and says the story is similar with many of them. "All they're doing day in day out is looking at the skies and wondering when they could have a day of sunshine," said Jake Putnam of the Idaho Farm Bureau.

That's because the concern is for more than just the crops. If there is no feed or hay for the cows, there could be trouble in the local dairy market.

"Potatoes, onions, beets, alfalfa, corn, those are our big crops - but our number one commodity is milk. We do more milk and cheese than we do potatoes," said Putnam.

Farmers like Leonard Andrew are nervous, but are trying to stay positive.

"We're hoping for a nice long Indian summer-fall," said Andrew.

Another concern farmers have is -- if it gets too hot, they may not have enough water to keep up with the heat.

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