Rainy weather has farmers worried about getting ready for a new season

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A wet winter means a lot of muddy fields across eastern North Carolina. And all of the mud is really slowing down farmers from getting their fields ready for the new growing season.

Andy McLawhorn, farmer and owner of Renston Farm Market, weighs in: “Time is critical. It’s one of the most important factors in having a good crop, and now’s the time to get your land ready.”

And time is not on McLawhorn’s side. Even after a few dry days, some of his fields are still too wet to till.

“You should not work the soil when it’s wet because the clods get hard, the dirt,” says McLawhorn. “You disturb the texture of the soil and it stays bad all season.”

Cool season crops like collards and carrots need to be planted now so they can be harvested before it gets too hot. Farmers planning to grow corn may be in trouble if they can’t work their fields over the next few weeks. Corn too doesn’t do well with North Carolina’s hot summers. And farmers aren’t the only ones feeling the heat. Fertilizer sales are down considerably, mainly because farmers can’t get out into their fields.

“We only get a really short window to get on the field without making a mess and we’re currently in the process of one of those short windows right now,” says Sam Allen, manager of agronomy sales for Southern States.

Allen says sales are down about a half million dollars from where they’d normally be. Once the weather does break, he expects business will pick up quickly.

Farmers are out taking advantage of the current brief dry spell while they can. More rain is back in the forecast through mid-week.

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