Local farmers worry about domino effect of wet planting season

wwny Local farmers worry about domino effect of wet planting season

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Wet conditions from June continue to bring stress.

Farmers in Jefferson and Lewis counties had to plant crops late and in poor conditions.

“It’s pretty serious. For the most part, this has been the toughest year in the 40 plus years that I’ve been farming as far as trying to get crops in the ground,” said Doug Shelmidine, local farmer.

“They kept going out, crops weren’t getting planted, patience was there, and we start to lose patience and it becomes a necessity that we plant our crops in less than ideal conditions,” said Mike Hunter, Cornell Cooperative Extension regional field crop specialist.

The Jefferson County Agriculture Development Council met Tuesday to discuss what can be done.

“During our discussions, it became pretty clear that there is a very serious concern that there will be feed shortages for our farms this fall, winter and into 2020,” said Jefferson County Agriculture Coordinator Jay Matteson.

Farmers likely won’t bring in quality yields this season and buying forage won’t be an ideal option when inventory runs out.

“The expectation is feed prices, grain prices are going to go through the roof,” said Matteson. “In fact, one of the outcomes of the meeting was for information to be sent out as fast as possible to farms, saying you need to look at pre-pricing, you need to evaluate your forage supply, and start to look at what you can do today to prepare yourself for the fall.”

The USDA county representative sent a damage report to get help for area farmers, but it might not come until after harvest is already over.

“We’re gonna be very reliant on the rest of the season being near perfect to have a quality or to have an adequate crop,” said Shelmidine.

Not only will farmers likely have difficulty feeding their cattle this year, crop specialists say the excess moisture has compacted the soil, which could cause problems next year too.

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