Down on the Farm

Farmers Make Hay in the Sun, Sort of!

As the title suggests, the farmers are enjoying the spring weather pattern that has emerged late this month. The early April high water and muddy fields have given way to drying soils and lower river levels.

Now while it is too early for the first cut of hay (mid to late May), the alfalfa and fescue grasses are flourishing in the sometimes damp, sometimes sunny spring pattern. Just use how fast the grass is growing at your house as a gauge. So, in a way, farmers are “making hay” in the sun these days, they are just not cutting it yet!

Last week’s spell of warm, sunny days proved to be a boon for farmers who completed their spring plowing and sowed their fields. Hal Knean, Meigs Extension agent, tells me sweet corn and cabbage are in the ground and the first “maters” of the season are soon to be planted. “The bottomlands of the Ohio are fertile ground for early season tomatoes and the hopes are that any cold late spring night will be offset by the warm river”, Hal told me.

It is there between Racine and Ravenswood along the mighty Ohio that commercial growers plant their tomatoes in late April. If the Ohio fogs protect the crop thru May, these farmers are the first to harvest tomatoes in time for 4th of July picnics.

When successful, these daring farmers can command a premium price a full month before others harvest their crops. On the flip side, a hard late season frost can ruin the early season planting.

Anyway, I am cautioning farmers to complete as much plowing and planting as they can this week in the long warm, sunny and dry spell predicted as a complete turn-around is in the cards next week when a long cloudy, damp and unseasonably chilly pattern will set in for the week before the Kentucky Derby. More on this pattern later this week!

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