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Rainy May delays Mid-Michigan planting season

Posted: 8:00 PM, May 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-23 23:06:20-04

LESLIE, Mich. — The cool, wet spring we've had so far has not been good for farmers here in Mid-Michigan.

Planting season is at least a week behind schedule for many of them.

Titus farms focuses on fruits and vegetables.

This year's rain has not only put them behind schedule but also has made some of their land unusable.

The owner tells me 40-percent of it can't be planted on because of flooding.

"Just when it starts to dry up, then we get another rain so it been really difficult to get into the field for any length of time," said Rebecca Titus.

Knowing that only about 10 of her 25 acres is usable, Titus is planting by hand and changing rotations to get the most of it.

"We have really heavy soil that we have not been able to till or really plant yet, so things have moved around on the farm a lot and I'm a little afraid we are going to have later melons, peppers and tomatoes."

Of the vegetables Titus has been able to plant like broccoli and cauliflower, her concern moves towards their survival.

"If it doesn't dry out, it can kill those plants, we can also have increase disease pressure because of the wet soil, so the things that are in are doing okay but they are also being compacted every time it rains."

Despite Titus Farm's hardships, they are considering themselves lucky compared to the corn and soybean farmers.

"For the farming community, it has been miserable," said Titus. "There are certain varieties you can grow, plant later and still have a good crop, but those days are really waning so they are going to have to figure out soon."

As farmers try to keep up with springs rain, they are also looking ahead to prepare for summer's heat.

"What I'm really afraid of if it's a wet spring, that it will be a dry summer. At least we have the soil moisture now to ride out July. I just wonder what it means for the summer or what it means generally for the future."

The good news for Titus farms is that it's diversified enough that the delay won't be enough to put them out of business.

The weather-related problems could cause shortages at local farmers markets in the next couple of weeks.

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