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June 19, 2013

Rain delay: Weather has frustrated local farmers

If he was forced to pick between a drought and a deluge, Scott Johnson of Highland Farms in Windham would pick a drought every time.

“It’s a lot easier to add water, then take it out,” Johnson said.

But lots of rain is what Johnson and other farmers have had to deal with this month.

Concord has seen 4.83 inches of rain fall already in June, according to meteorologist Steve Capriola of the National Weather Service. Capriola said the total is more than double the average rainfall at this time of the month. The total already makes it the 29th wettest June in the 146 years they have been keeping track.

Farmers don’t expect the heavy rains to impact the crops they will produce this year, but they do expect a delay.

“The fields are so wet now that we can’t get things planted,” said Phil Ferdinando, co-owner of J&F Farms in Derry. “Things are going to end up being later this year.”

He mentioned corn and vine crops such as cucumbers and squash as those most affected.

Ferdinando said most of the crops previously planted were doing well, but not everyone is as fortunate.

John Peters of Peters Farm in Salem said he has had to replant and refertilize because of the rain.

“We lost a few growing days for sure,” Peters said. “But we did well in April and May, so it all really ends up evening out.”

Dan Hicks of Sunnycrest Farms in Londonderry was hoping to open U-pick strawberries last week, but the rain delayed his opening until today.

Despite the setbacks, he is staying optimistic about this year’s crop.

“I expect there will be some (negative) impact, but I’ve been amazed before,” he said. “As farmers, we never want to be negative. But it does get to you in a year like this.”

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