Abundant rain hinders local farming

WAVY/Rob Rizzo

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Agricultural experts say there’s been too much rain in Hampton Roads lately for planting and harvesting crops.

10 On Your Side stopped by the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market on Monday to see how their feeling about the dilemma, and many are hoping the weather pattern will turn around this week.

Local produce farmer Mike Cullipher started, but couldn’t finish planting his organic strawberries.

Photos: Wet, cool weather impacts local farming

“We’re about a week behind from where we’d like to be,” he told WAVY.com. “We had three inches of rain the week before last. Then we had six inches last week, then we had about another inch and half of rain on Saturday.”

Coupled with cooler weather, lingering moisture has left behind soggy fields. Cullipher is unable to get a tractor or even workers out to plant.

“We lack six rows of finishing laying our plastic so we can set our strawberries out. So, if we could get that done by Wednesday, we really shouldn’t have an impact next spring,” he said.

Virginia Beach Agriculture Extension Agent Roy Flanagan pointed out that different crops are affected in different ways by the recent weather.

“Other farms, like corn farmers, they’ve had their harvest at a snail’s pace,” Flanagan said. “They haven’t really been able to get a whole lot done. Soybeans right now are kind of just sitting still. The crop really doesn’t look good.”

He said wet weather and cool temperatures usually welcome diseases into a crop.

“We haven’t seen any large outbreaks at this point, but we’re keeping an eye out for that,” he said.

Flanagan said September and October are the months for planting and harvesting, so drier conditions make that process ideal. Farmers are expected to begin planting wheat soon.

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