Weather dampens Ohio vegetable outlook - The Packer

Weather dampens Ohio vegetable outlook

06/02/2011 01:44:00 PM
Dan Gailbraith

NORTH FAIRFIELD, Ohio — More than 20 inches of rain in April and continuing rain and cool weather in May have held back vegetable crop progress in Ohio.

Unusually cold and wet weather has put the Ohio deal behind normal, said Loren Buurma, co-owner of Willard, Ohio-based Buurma Farms Inc.

The company’s radish harvest typically begins about May 15, but cool weather and planting gaps contributed to a slower than normal start, he said.

Ohio growers endured the wettest April since 1950, which caused plantings of some Ohio crops to lag behind normal, said Ken Holthouse, general manager of North Fairfield-based Doug Walcher Farms.

About 25% of the firm’s cucumber crop is in the ground, he said, while the pepper crop was just beginning to be planted the week of May 16.

“We’re making progress where we can, but it is slow,” he said.

Zucchini yellow squash are expected to be available the middle of June, and peppers should start about the third week of July, Holthouse said.

It is not unusual for warmer weather to spur growth, allowing fields planted near Memorial Day to catch up with fields planted in mid-May.

“If the weather straightens up and the temperatures come up, we should still be able to hit our normal starting time,” he said.

“Last year we had a nice warm April and May, and we harvested peppers July 10,” he said.

Less than 10% of the state’s field corn crop was planted at the end of April, compared with more than 60% planted the same time last year.

“It is cold and rainy,” said Don Bettinger, president of Bettinger Farms Inc., Swanton. “It has been terrible.”

Growers faced similar conditions early in the season last year, Bettinger said, and the weather turned around and accelerated crop progress.

“I’m still assuming it won’t be that much of a change in harvest season, providing the weather straightens out,” he said.

His firm’s sweet corn should be ready by July 20. The firm grows about 500 acres of fresh market sweet corn that will be harvested up to October.

Jim Wiers, president of Willard-based Wiers Farm Inc./Dutch Maid., says warmer days can make up for the rain and cool weather.

However, there may be larger than normal gaps for some vegetables as harvest transitions from southern growing regions to northern growing regions, he said.

"As items transition out of Georgia to the north and the Carolinas to the North, and Arkansas and Tennessee to the north, I would expect greater gaps this year,” Wiers said.



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