POMEROY — Farmers in Meigs are suffering significant yield losses due to the extreme weather the area has experience this summer.
Ohio just finished one of the wettest Junes on record. While obtaining a precipitation report for May and June from the Racine Locks and Damn, Kim Johnson, NPR, pointed out that June was the highest monthly total of precipitation recorded for several years. The heavy rainfall, consistently wet weather, and cool temperatures are creating serious problems in the fields.
A few major problems include, but not limited to: saturated and flooded fields, bacteria and fungus explosions, rapid weed growth and leaching of field nutrients. Getting into the field to combat these major problems is proving to be extremely difficult due to compaction issues and pesticides applications washing off from the constant rain events.
According to OSU fruit and vegetable specialist Brad Bergefurd, “These wet field conditions have prevented side-dress applications, herbicide spraying, fungicide and insecticide applications, cultivation, planting and ground preparation. These wet conditions have caused severe flood damage, onset of disease and flush of weed growth.”
Professor Sally Miller, Ohio State University Department of Plant Pathology, explains that keeping ahead of diseases is important, but any efforts to manage them can be undone by long periods of wet weather, when it is particularly important to keep a tight schedule of fungicide applications. Meigs County farmers are applying fungicide with little or no success due to these long periods of rain.
In Meigs County, not only corn, soybeans and hay crop are suffering, but also the fruit and vegetable producers in the county, particularly up and down the Ohio River. One area which has been hit hard is the Racine Locks and Dam peninsula, where some of the larger producers in the county are located. The damage has not been isolated to only one or two farms, but most if not all farms across the entire peninsula area.
The fruits and vegetable producers have also been experiencing another problem in addition to field damage and diseases: unsaleable produce. Producers have been undergoing short windows to harvest available produce. Much of the produce in the field has become waterlogged, causing aesthetic problems such as blemishes and cracks, marketing and transportation issues. Although the produce is perfectly edible, it is still being rejected due to aesthetic reasons. As a result, customers are reducing and cutting orders. For example, one farmer experienced a 1,200 box (10 pounds/box) order cut from a major grocery store chain due to aesthetics.
Marcus McCartney is agriculture and natural resources educator from The Ohio State University Extension-Meigs County.