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Michigan farmers impacted by the rain not once, but twice this year

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The rain and Michigan farmers haven't exactly gotten along this year, and according to the United States Department of Agriculture all of that rain could bring record low crop yields. (WEYI/WSMH - Lia Kamana)

The rain and Michigan farmers haven't exactly gotten along this year, and according to the United States Department of Agriculture all of that rain could bring record low crop yields.

Bill Hunt, the president of Hunt Farms Inc., said this is the first time he's agreed with the USDA numbers this year. After harvesting about a quarter of his soybean crop, they are running about 30% less production per acre than it normally does. Corn has another 2-3 weeks before it's ready to be harvested, but Bill estimates yields to be around 10-15% lower than normal.

"Yields are down, dollar value is going down, I can't wait for 2019 to be over with," said Hunt.

All the rain that came in the spring pushed back planting times for those that chose to plant. Some farmers decided not to plant at all.

In the state of Michigan, 15.47% of farm acres weren't planted.

"In the area a lot of the crops weren't even planted, which in itself is like taking a third of your income and taking it all away regardless of price," said Phil Kaatz, extension education with the MSU Extension Office in Lapeer County.

St. Clair County was first in the state in acres not planted with 38.52% and Genesee County was second with 36.49%.

According to Kaatz, in many of the empty acres farmers are seeing tons of weeds which could create problems next season and perhaps many seasons to come.

"They may have to do some things that they may not have been prepared to do, like plan for those weeds and make sure they control them early and make sure its in their plan for long term," said Kaatz.

The later planting times also mean a later harvest season, and as the weather gets colder, farmers now need to worry about frost.

"28 degrees is a killer frost for us," said Kaatz. "If it's at 33-34 degrees it will ding the corn and stop it from progressing as fast. It will still mature with time, but if it gets below that 28, we are in trouble."

The National Weather Service Detroit, issued a frost advisory for parts of mid-Michigan including Genesee County for late Monday, Oct. 14 going into Tuesday morning.

While the impacts of the weather plagued 2019 season are still hard to tell at this point according to Kaatz, many farmers are looking forward to 2020.

"I would take normal over what we had this year," said Hunt. "I can't wait till it's over with. 2019 hasn't been good."