Farmers fret as Vermont’s planting season is stuck in the mud

Local News

This rainy, chilly spring is creating quite an ordeal for farmers in Vermont who are weeks behind in planting and tending their crops.

Heather Darby, head of the Northwest Crop & Soil team at the University of Vermont Extension, estimates crops are three weeks behind in the growth and development process.

Only about 5 percent of the state’s 90,000 acres of corn have been planted, Darby said. Normally, most crop, which farmers use to feed their livestock, would be in the ground.

“What I’m hoping is that people are able to get their crops in and produce enough feed to feed their animals this winter,” she said. “That could be the lasting impact, is if people don’t have enough feed for their livestock and are searching elsewhere to purchase feed.”

More than five inches of rain has fallen this May; the average May rainfall is 3.08 inches. Meanwhile, piles of corn seeds sit packaged up in a shed at Bess-View Farm in Swanton.

That’s because planting crops in fields this muddy can be risky. Equipment can get mired in the muck and the soil can be damaged long-term.

Darby says last fall’s dry weather hampered the crop so farmers were hoping for a bountiful 2019. The wet, cold spring is also affecting vegetable growers.

“Not able to get their sweet corn planted, the pumpkins planted, the early spring crops are dying off from different diseases. So it’s not just dairy farming and livestock farming, it’s really impacting everyone that makes a living from the land,” she said.

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