Lack of snow could impact farm production

Lack of significant snow this winter could impact the year’s farm production.
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 6:32 PM EST
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A mild winter could affect the availability of fruits and vegetables come harvest. In this week’s County Ag Report, Kathy McCarty has more on how the two are connected.

Mild winters are welcomed by some, but can have a negative impact for others, especially farmers.

“We need the snow pack to load the soil with water and the groundwater profile. And if we’re shy on snow coming in, we can hope for spring rains and summer rains, but they have been different pattern the last two years. They’ve been erratic or - you get four inches in the month of July is great, but if you get three and three-quarter inches on an afternoon, all it does is run the top soils into the rivers and such,” says Steven Johnson, Crop Specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Production was down the past year and another drought would only perpetuate the problem.

Johnson says, “I don’t want to look at another year when we have drought conditions. We’ve had the past two years was bad. Actually 1995 was a little bit worse than last year, but not much. We were in unprecedented drought. We were a disaster area. Yields are down 20 to 30 percent. That’s not good.”

Getting an early start on planting isn’t necessarily a good thing.

“My fear is the ground warms up real early and we start planting May 1st. And when we’re starting planting May 1st, that tells me we don’t have enough water, because the ground is heated up early because it’s not heating up so much water in there. So if that’s the case, we’re gonna be - shy of water at that time, and we’re gonna need a bunch.” says Johnson.

It’s not just farmers who are affected by drought. Farm employees, businesses and more feel the financial impact. Steve Johnson says it’ll take a couple good years for the industry to make up for back-to-back bad years. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

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