Wet weather could impact crop planting

HELLAM TOWNSHIP, Pa -- Heavy rain and snow over the past several months means more saturated grounds. Farmers are dealing with it all as they get ready to plant their annual crops.

This biggest impact this could have is on the field crops, which are used for feed for animals. Most farmers in this area aren't worried. Experts said if there are any issues or delays because of weather, it won't be felt by the consumer.

To say it's windy would be an understatement, but for Michael Flinchbaugh, owner and fruit production manager of Flinchbaugh's Orchard and Farm Market, he'll take it.

According to the National Weather Service, parts of York County received more than 60 inches of precipitation last year. That's compared to the average of 41, we usually see, making some farmers' jobs a little harder.

"It was a challenge to get our crops planted in a timely manner," Flinchbaugh said. "We were having to make that judgement call of, 'okay the season is getting farther along, when we should be getting those crops planted, but yet the soil conditions were very marginal to plant in good conditions to get in there with your heavy equipment'."

Heidi Myer with the Penn State Extension in York said all that moisture can make it difficult for plants to grow.

"Soil is made up of clay, silt, and sand," Myer said. "And when those pore spaces are filled with water that just means that the soil can be compressed and that means that there's less room for air."

Across the board, the precipitation patterns for this year are similar to last year's patterns at this point. But keep in mind the turning point was July. If anything, there could be a shortage in feed for animals, and maybe in local produce. But if that's the case, stores will just source from other locations

"It's more of a concern for the farmers who are itching to get into the field," Myer said. "This time of year it's just excitement of getting moving and getting the crop in the ground."

As for Flinchbaugh, he said Mother Nature's games are just the nature of the beast.

"You can control a lot of things, you can't control the weather," Flinchbaugh said.

There are still some chances for rain in the forecast this week, but nothing like we've recently had which should give the fields an opportunity to dry out before the weekend.

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