Fall is here and that means it is harvest time. But as our John Stehlin explains, while most of us were enjoying the great summer weather, it left many area farmers feeling a little anxious about their crops.
With a fantastic autumn backdrop - the combines are out harvesting here at Howlett Farms on Rt 251 in Rush. This is a welcomed sound to the ears of four generation farmer Bruce Howlett.
No doubt Bruce was nervous - little did he know the area would reach severe drought status during the summer months.
“Very dry, our planting season was very dry hard to find moisture to plant in to. And that followed up with very little rain fall,” says Howlett.
Bruce had reason for concern. At the start of the growing season things didn’t look so good. In fact - may was extremely dry. The area was down more than 2.5 inches of rain and by the end of august the rain gauge had more than a 7 inch deficit. A few storms may have saved the season.
“There were some thunderstorms that hit our area. We were fortunate to get more yield than other areas cause we got more spotty thunderstorms,” says Howlett.
Winter folklore says that if the husks are thick and healthy then winter will be harsh. Bruce says these are fairly decent and that is good news for next season.
“If you start the season with low soil moisture you are putting yourself at risk if the soil is dry. If you start with good moisture content the roots can find that if it’s a deep rooted crop.”
For farms and farmers across western
Despite the great corn yield this year, Howlett Farm's crop of peas was down by 50 percent. He says that’s because the peas are harvested earlier in the season.