Record-Setting Wet Spring Hurts Local Farmers 5-25-2011 - WNEM TV 5

Record-Setting Wet Spring Hurts Local Farmers 5-25-2011

These wet and cool conditions hitting Mid-Michigan are making for an unusual spring, and some farmers say the odd weather is hurting this year's sugar beet crop.
Many farmers are still staring at muddy fields from the heavy rains earlier in May. It’s a sight farmers like Vern Stephen are tired of seeing. “We're about a month behind, actually a little over a month, from our normal timelines,” said Stephen.
All of the wet weather caused Stephen to have to replant half of his sugar beets.
“We planted them early but we got about 4- or 5-inches of rain afterwards and the weather turned cold and the beets didn't emerge well,” said Stephen.
It's the first time Stephen said he's had to re-plant sugar beets in almost 12 years. He says when that happens, farmers lose precious time and growth.
“We only get so many months in a year in farming, and the crops will be smaller, like sugar beets, the beets will be smaller,” Stephen said.
With a tighter deadline, some farmers are going into overdrive by making sure they get crops in the ground as soon as possible. But it hasn't been easy. Michigan Sugar Company officials say some growers have seen rain for 14 days out of this month.
“We don't need any more rain, we need to complete the crop, we need to plant other crops," said Stephen. "There's a lot of work, an awful lot of work that needs to be done on the farm.”
TV5 Meteorologist Catherine Bodak said this wet spring is on track to set a record.
Many farmers told TV5 by this time last year they were done planting, but because of the rainy weather, many of them couldn't even get into the fields until mid-April.
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