COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The rain Tuesday morning was much needed after a very dry last few weeks.
Craig Mercer, with Catalpa Grove Farm, is taking the recent heat wave in stride and said his crops are looking good so far this season, thanks to their irrigation system.
“First step is to irrigate everything because otherwise, you aren’t going to have much of a crop in dry weather with those particular crops that we raise,” he said.
The farm has already started harvesting sweet corn. Mercer said they normally plant 35-38 acres and can get about 2,000 heads if the yield is good. All of the warm weather has helped make up for the slow start this spring.
“If you would’ve asked me first of May if I would have sweet corn, I’d have told you there was no way possible,” he said.
Wet weather does give the farm a break on irrigation costs, which have been rising due to the increase in diesel fuel.
Mercer said he normally spends $2,000 to fill his diesel tanks, and most recently, he spent $5,000.
“Costs are double what they have been, so that’s the biggest thing is pumping the water,” he said.
The recent downpour means they have to pump less water but also spend less manpower on constantly checking and adjusting the system.
Mercer said their soil tests have been good, letting them use less fertilizer, though they haven’t had to buy any this year. He said the cost of that has gone up, too.
Mercer said there is not much they can do to plan ahead for fuel and fertilizer costs, but they’re trying to avoid raising prices.
“We’ve raised prices a little bit but not a lot, trying to cover some of it there, and some of it, we’re absorbing,” he said.
But though they spend less time on irrigation, he said they spend more on pulling up the weeds and monitoring crops like tomatoes that are susceptible to disease when it gets too wet.