Traverse City Record-Eagle

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July 8, 2013

Farmers optimistic about crops

TRAVERSE CITY — It’s been a relatively dry growing season so far, and northwest Michigan farmers are looking to the sky for more precipitation.

“It would be real nice if we got some rain,” said Dan Hall of Hall Farms on North Long Lake Road in Grand Traverse County. “It has rained all around us, and I’ve talked to people (in other states) who said they’d had lots rain. They were just drowning in it and I said, ‘We’d sure like to have some of it.'”

Hall irrigates his corn fields but also grows oats, rye, field corn and alfalfa. The first cut of hay looked good, he said, but the fields definitely need more water.

Regarding the irrigated corn, he said “if we got rain, I don’t have such a high Consumers bill.”

Statistics from the National Weather Service show the Traverse City area is below average on rainfall. Traverse City received 4.08 inches of rain for the months of May, June and July. The average for the same time frame is 6.12 inches. National Weather Service Meteorologist Tim Locker said there's some chance of rain Sunday night into today, and more could come by mid-week.

This year's growing season began with a chill, followed by a recent stretch of dry, humid weather. Local farmers said they're thus far optimistic about this year's crops.

“We had a very good asparagus season,” said Alan Grossnickle of Grossnickle Farms of Kaleva. "Except for the Mother’s Day weekend snow, which took the first two pickings, things rebounded well and it turned out to be a good year. Even as cool as the spring was, our crops are catching up nicely, now that the weather has warmed up.”

Grossnickle also grows strawberries, raspberries, pickles, sweet corn, pumpkins, field corn, soybeans, and a wide variety of vegetables. He expects his sweet corn to be ready around July 25, noting the estimate depends on the weather.

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