Long dry stretches and wind creating challenging conditions for area farmers

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – “This spring, it seems like the weather has been from one extreme to the other,” said Mike Skinner, operator and manager of Strawberries on 903 in Winterville. “We’ve had lots of rain then an 8 or 9-day dry spell with no rain. We were fortunate to get some rain this past weekend.”

It’s been a tough spring for farmers across the East. A wet winter delayed them from getting their fields ready in the first place. And now there’s not enough rain to go around.

“The seed or the plants you put in the ground that’s so dependent on water to get them off to a good start and get a good root system,” said Skinner. “And you don’t want a new seedling or a new transplant to struggle early on.”

Unusually windy conditions this spring have battered young crops and wicked away the moisture left behind from what little rain has fallen. Fortunately for Skinner, all of his crops are irrigated. But he explained that many farmers don’t have that option, “Even irrigating a fruit and vegetable crop is an expensive proposition. It takes a lot more management also when you start irrigating. So we’re prepared but some farmers are not quite as prepared.”

So far during the month of April, there’s been just 6 days with rainfall in Greenville.

While the dry conditions are providing a challenge for farmers, not everyone is unhappy with it.

The wet winter also slowed down construction crews. The warmer and drier weather in March and April has given them a chance to catch up on jobs they had to put on hold at the beginning of the year.

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