It’s made it a challenge for farmers to raise crops this year.
Frederick, Md (KM). The large amount of rain we’ve had so far this year may have kept your lawn green, or helped with your backyard flower or vegetable garden. But it’s not been a friend to farmers. “Every farmer has had issues this year and it has been most challenging year in my lifetime,” says Bob Black, the co-owner of Catoctin Mountain Orchard near Thurmont. “I’m 65, and I’ve talked to other farmers who are in their 80’s. They’ve never seen a year like this with all of the excessive rainfall.”
While rain does help a farmer’s crops grow, too much is not very beneficial, says Black. “Some of our trees have defoliated already. And we’re blaming it on possibly some leaf funguses that came in with all of the excessive rain that we just weren’t able to pick it up quick enough,” he says.
Catoctin Mountain Orchard is famous for apples during the fall, and Black says even though crops are hurting from the heavy rainfall. “And we’re actually seeing some issues with our apple trees. Some of our leaves are turning a spotted–I’m going to call it some yellow with some brown spots also,” he says. “There’s certain sprays you can use to control that. And we usually use those early in the season. But because of the excessive rainfall, we’re having some issues where some of our leaves are falling off.”
Black says he’s even noticed a little valley up to the mountain near the orchard with poplar trees, and there’s a mountain with some gum trees. They usually change at around this time, but Black neither is changing.
Some of his crops are not faring well this year. “Tomatoes crack; apples crack; peaches crack; peaches rot. We’re seeing rots that I’ve never seen before on apples. So we’ve had to use more protectants just to be sure that they don’t rot. And I think we’ve got a handle on it,’ says Black.
He says more sunny days are needed to help the farmers. “We’ve noticing different issues with our trees, things that weren’t happening. The more we’ve talked to consultant and professors at Penn State and Cornell and even Maryland, it was excessive cloudy days caused some things not to happen because our plants need sunshine,” says Black.
“It’s been an extremely challenging year to try to give an excellent product to people, and we do have excellent products,” says Black. “All farmers have had loses this year that there’s no insurance that will cover it. It’s just things just happen.”
By Kevin McManus