Harsh Winter Poses Problems For Farmers

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By Matthew Searcy

WSIL -- Local farmers are doing their best to battle the elements as the harsh winter threatens crop production.

"The winter wheat might be the main crop that would be influenced," said Thompsonville farmer Tom Saxe. "It might weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to more secondary diseases that would come on during the spring.

Southern Illinois has already seen nearly 18 inches of snow in some parts of the region this winter with temperatures more than two degrees below normal through December and parts of January.

The conditions pose a threat to Saxe's winter wheat crop which was planted in October. 

"You would lose a few plants," explained Saxe. 

It's too early to tell exactly what the impact will be but wheat isn't the only thing farmers have to worry about. 

"It's a bigger challenge to people that have livestock," said Saxe. "It is difficult when it freezes up on their feet. Once in a while they will get their ears frost bit. They will lose the tips of their ears or maybe the tip of their tail."

Corn and soybeans crops, which won't be planted until spring, will not be impacted by the recent weather. Orchards could be affected, especially if temperatures fluctuate. 

"Freezing up and then thawing out," said Saxe. "It's the back and forth, the kind of variability that is more harmful than if it freezes up once and stayed that way."

Marion Regional
Current: 55°
Clear
High: 57°
Low: 34°
Wind: 7 MPH
Pressure: 0.00
Humidity: 33 %

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