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A Wet May Making Hay Difficult To Harvest

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
A Wet May Making Hay Difficult To Harvest

The excessive rain we have seen in recent weeks making it difficult for farmers to properly grow and harvest their crops.

Crossville has recorded 9.25 inches of rain this month, above five inches above normal. UT Extension Agent Gregg Upchurch said the rain is primarily affecting hay farmers because the constant rain is making it so that their hay cannot be harvested. Upchurch said there have also been many corn and bean plots that needed to be replanted due to flooding from the rain.

“We’re at a point where we’re needing to get some dry weather to put hay up,” Upchurch said. “Our hay crops are really kind of past the point of maturity that we would typically be harvesting those, and we can’t get enough stretch of dry weather to get hay cut.”

Upchurch said this week’s dry weather will help. He said some farmers with mower-conditioners to dry hay faster have started harvesting, but farmers with regular mowers are likely going to need to wait for a longer dry spell.

“It’s really kind of borderline,” Upchurch said. “I mean, long-range forecast is calling for rain on Friday, and I don’t know if that’ll be ample time to get a lot of our hay crops cut. It’ll probably dry enough that if you’re putting in a vegetable garden or something by – by week’s end, you could get some vegetables and stuff like that planted, but probably need a few more days of drying to be honest.”

Upchurch said gardeners are being impacted by increases in fungal pathogens on plants and pythium, which is when plants rot off at the ground because of excessive moisture.

“I think even from a homestead point we could use a few days of just dry weather and sunshine to help home landscapes, help field agriculture, all of the above.”

Upchurch said he does not foresee any long term effects from the rain, and that late summer and autumn are still likely to be very dry seasons.

“Our soils are so shallow here on the plateau that they tend to just dry out very quickly,” Upchurch said. “You know, so any excess water we get typically runs off or, you know, kind of moves its way through cracks and crevices in the rock and the earth into our water table. And so anytime that we can get that excess moisture, we’re happy to get it.”

Upchurch said the amount of rain has varied in different parts of the county due to the different levels of elevation in the area.

“It’s amazing what the mountain range can do for one area that might get four or five inches of rain where one area might just get an inch to two inches of rain,” Upchurch said. “So it can be really hit or miss across the county.”


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