HAMILTON, Mich. — Winter's early arrival is creating more problems in an already tough year for farmers.
Just a month ago, they were hoping for a dry and warm fall to finish everything up. This fall ended up being one of the wettest on record.
Planting was already delayed weeks from our wet spring, meaning hundreds of acres of crops are still in the ground as the snow piles up. The late plant also meant crops were not able to mature fully before the colder weather came.
Despite the wet spring and fall, the crop yield is still actually said to be pretty good. It means nothing, however, if the weather prevents them from getting it all out of the fields.
Once there is snow on the crops themselves, they can not be harvested as the snow will plug up the combine. There can be snow on the ground and harvesting can resume, but not on the plant itself.
Alex Lubbers of Hamilton says he and his father added up the total amount of yield still left in the ground and it amounts to around a quarter of a million dollars.
"This is probably the worst year we have had." Alex Lubbers said. "In my lifetime, in his lifetime and he has been farming for 50 years."
Farmers are hoping the remainder of this year is similar to last. November of 2018 brought cold and snow but was followed by a mild and relatively snow-less December.
Lubbers says the potential is there that they don't harvest the crops at all if the bad weather remains. They likely have until the end of December to get everything out of the ground. He says that other farmers have been out in the fields after Christmas if the conditions allowed.