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Farmers need dry weather to complete harvest

By Warren Dillaway • Nov 5, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Area farmers need a little break from Mother Nature to complete a solid harvest season throughout Ashtabula County, said Ashtabula County Extension Agent Andrew Holden.

“There is a lot of corn that has been slow to harvest,” Holden said. He said the last two weeks of rain has made the harvesting process impossible.

“It has been raining nine of the last 12 days,” Holden said Thursday morning before the skies opened again with continued rain, flooding Ashtabula County fields.

The planting season got off to a slow start with extensive rain,” Holden said. He said overall the harvest has been about average, but corn farmers need a couple days of dry weather before they can get their equipment into the fields.

Other crops are in better shape, Holden said. “The beans are mostly done,” he said.

The hay crop was a little slow this year, Holden said. “I haven’t heard about any third cuttings, some (farmers) are struggling to get to their second cutting,” he said.

On the fruits and vineyards side, area growers reported a good year.

“The grape production was pretty good this year,” Holden said.

Ohio Wine Producers Association Executive Director Donniella Winchell also said it was a good year for wine producers. “It was a little wetter and hotter than 2017 (but) yields were good,” she said.

A positive aspect of the year’s growth cycle was nearly 100 percent of the crop got harvested,” she said. The effects of the chilling temperatures from the polar vortex several years ago have finally gone away, Winchell said.

The frigid temperatures that killed a lot of grape vines several years ago may help the industry plan better for years down the line, Winchell said. “The polar vortex showed us the kind of grapes we need to focus on,” she said.

One of the keys is a lot more emphasis on vinifera grapes and hybrids will be planted as they are able to weather some of the chilly temperatures. “In the long run we will probably (be better off),” she said.

Area apple orchards dealt with the wet weather, but Donald Frank, co-owner of Cold Springs Orchard in Austinburg Township, said it was a good year with sweet apples harvested from area trees. “It was a good crop,” he said.

“It was an unusual season,” Frank said. He said the good quality was a welcome product of the different weather conditions.

The on-going cold weather has provided orchards with challenges. “We have probably 90 percent (of the apples) in,” Frank said.


©2018 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)

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