CORINTH- April showers bring May flowers, except when the showers don’t stop.
The rain has been constant this month and its been affecting our local farmers like Bill Adams of Adams Strawberry Acres who can’t get past the mud.
“We had our equipment ready the middle of April, you know ready to go in the field and we’ve just been slowly getting there you know you have to go in-between like today, its 60 degrees out when it should be 70-75. If you don’t get a lot of sun, the ground don’t dry out, it don’t warm up and you can’t plant,” Adams said.
The farmer said that not only has the rain been rotting the roots of some crops, but it has been pushing his farm’s schedule back.
“We can’t plant we can’t get the ground prepared, its kept the crew from working, so we can’t get our raspberry pruned and ready for the season, we’re late getting fertilizer on the ground to get the crops growing. It’s slowed everything down,” Adams said.
The weather has also been raining down extra labor costs because he needs additional manpower to till the fields because the ground’s too muddy to use the equipment.
“My crew hasn’t been able to work many hours when it’s raining they can’t work and sometimes it makes work more miserable because some days they’ve had to be out in it. It rained all night and they go out and they go out and work in the wet field in the morning because the sun comes out. It’s hard, it’s hard on everybody,” Adams said.
But, as Dr. Alicyn Smart, a plant pathologist and UMaine’s Director of the Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory explained, another factor is the root diseases and water molds the rain invites because of the extra damp farming conditions.
“There’s potential for a post-harvest disease to occur. So an example of this would be your strawberries may not last as long in your refrigerator due to having a disease,” Dr. Smart said.
She advised farmers to scout their fields for any signs of diseases and send in any samples they suspect have diseases to the Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory in Orono to for the scientists to test.
She recommended not to wait too long or they might spread the diseases around the farm and potentially have a reduction in yield.