A Tough Summer For Many NJ Farmers
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
August 2, 2013
All the rain this summer is creating problems for many New Jersey farmers. That could lead to higher price for consumers.
New Jersey Farm Bureau President Ryke Suydam says wet conditions in the fields make it difficult to produce hay.
“I’m already hearing reports of shortages of good hay, everything from the Ohio Valley east, and that translates into higher prices for lamb, for goats, some for beef. So there will be a little bit of an increase due to the weather.”
Suydam says fungus from all the rain is causing problems for some vegetable growers.
“Mostly the vine crops, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins. They’re very susceptible to mildew. Those are really getting hit hard. If things could dry up so those crops could continue to grow without the fungus, we’re going to have a whole lot more fun this Halloween than we do if it continues muddy.”
Suydam says sweet corn grows well in all the rain so farmers with that crop are doing better.
He says the upside of all the rain this summer is that farmers don’t have to spend a lot to irrigate their crops.
“There’s a lot of farmers in New Jersey that do irrigate their sweet corn with overheat irrigation as opposed to drip which is what most of the smaller vegetables get. So there is some savings there, but when you’re fighting the mildew sometimes you have to use fungicides to keep all the mildew down. So it may be a break even on that one”
Suydam makes hay and grows vegetables at his farm in Somerset County. Halfway through the growing season he’s still trying to be optimistic.
“I’m confident we’ll be around for another year. Are we going to make money? I believe so. It’s not going to be a bumper year for us. Some commodities like the corn and the soybeans they might do a little bit better than those of us that are growing squash.”