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‘The soil is very muddy and it’s like Play-Doh’: May showers bring bad news for crops

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 5:31 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) Temperatures have been below average for the month of April and so far, May. With May being quite a wet month, it’s not good news for crops.

Portland has yet to meet its average rainfall but the wet weather has really slowed down the ability to plant and grow crops like Christmas trees at Furrow Farms.

“The soil is very muddy and it’s like Play-Doh. For planting, you want to soil to flow,” said Matt Furrow, owner of Furrow Farms. “You want it to be more flowing soil so it flows in and around the trees as it goes through the tree planter. Even planting by hand, the soil will just get packed and tight it’ll dry and be so hard around the trees that it just won’t be good for them.”

Furrow Farms is currently still planting trees, something that is usually completed in March. Furrow still has about 8-thousand trees still left to plant, some by hand and others by machine. Furrow said they will need three to four days of good weather and if they can get them in within the next couple of weeks, they’ll be fine. But if it ends up being a dry summer and plant late, it will reduce the survival rate.

“I feel that we would normally machine plant. We’re going to hand plant. It’s going to take four times longer but at least we’re going to be getting trees in the ground,” said Furrow.

Ryan Stadelman at Stadelman Farms, has not been able to plant any Spring crops because of the rain. His crimson clover, which should be in full bloom this time of year, has been delayed two weeks.

“It’s just been too wet and then we’re not getting enough dry time between. All these heads should be at least this big nice and bright red hopefully bigger but as you can see it’s just starting to push the bloom because of the cold and wet weather. It doesn’t like it,” said Ryan Stadelman at Stadelman Farms.

Stadelman’s clover gets distributed all over the world, but with wet weather, it’s cause for concern and he’s unable to plant other crops like oat seed.

“With the hit and miss rain, I’m starting to get concerned a little bit about the quality. When harvest comes, if it rains, we can’t get into harvest. The seed quality will go down, or it’ll sprout, it’ll molt and won’t be of any benefit to anybody,” said Stadelman. “If I planted that today, we wouldn’t harvesting it until the end of September. You start pushing that window where we can get back in the wet season again so it’s not worth the risk.”

Furrow said they will be short on trees this year but are planting more than usual because they lost so many last year. Because of this, their workload has doubled.

With sun in the near future, farmers hope it will give crops a chance to catch up.