Fall weather impacts crops, but not agritourism

The dry weather has been hard on some crops but agritourism events are gearing up this fall including Good for the Core Farm’s Family Fun Day set for Oct. 13 in Harrington. (Submitted photo)

As fall begins with fluctuating temperatures, some of Delaware’s top agriculture products are in jeopardy, according to area farmers.

“The weather this fall has really been a blessing and a curse. It depends really on what you grow. The weather this fall has just been — it’s been different,” Secretary of Delaware’s Department of Agriculture Michael Scuse said this week.

“The heat since July has had an impact on dry-land corn. But, on the other side, the dry weather that we’ve had this fall after the corn matured helped the corn dry down fairly fast. Without any rain, farmers were able to get into the fields and just start harvesting corn non-stop. So, the bulk of the corn harvest now is all but done,” he explained.

While earlier corn harvesting might alleviate stress from some farmers, soybean farmers are in a different predicament this year.

“On the other side of that, though … soybeans have been hurt really bad because of the dry weather and the heat since July. Dry-land beans, the yields are going to be substantially reduced. In some cases, you could get only about 20 to 25 percent of a normal crop. The beans that were planted after wheat and barley are going to be extremely hard hit because of the dry weather and the heat,” Secretary Scuse added. “It’s a pretty bad situation for soybean farmers and not just for here in Delaware, for all over the country.”

Melissa Scott-Pryor of Good for the Core Farm in Harrington said the weather has hit their farm hard this year as the insects seemed worse and hot temperatures caused crop loss and sunburn on their pumpkins.

But the strange weather hasn’t stopped them from celebrating fall alongside the community by hosting a Family Fun Day Sunday, Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. They have also agreed to donate pumpkins to one of the first Big Draw events, pumpkin painting, in Milford hosted by the Mispillion Art League today.

“Having a few artistic people in our family, we felt this was a great project and opportunity to provide something to our community, so we decided to help the cause,” she said. “Fall welcomes our pumpkin patch season. Fall also lets us know that farm clean up and break time is right around the corner for the crops. However, fall welcomes the busy season for our body care products from Rusted Acre Soaps by Good for the Core Farm.”

Secretary Scuse added, “There’s a lot of activities around the state, a lot of agritourism going on. Right now in the state, you’ve got pumpkin patches where families can go and pick their own pumpkins for Halloween. You’ve got corn mazes in different areas around the state, so there’s a lot of fall activities that people can really get into out in the countryside. The pumpkin patches are a really great place to spend family time.”

He noted the upcoming second annual Great Delaware Pumpkin Carve Festival, a partnership between the Delaware State Fair and Biggs Museum of American Art, that will be held Friday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 19 at the fairgrounds in Harrington.

“We still have several of our farmer’s markets still going on and these Farmer’s Markets are a good place to pick up fall produce as well as pumpkins,” he added. “We are into October, too. We’re not that far from Thanksgiving, so we can also start thinking about going out and picking out the Christmas tree for the holiday season. It’s not too early to start thinking about that, as well.”

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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