Warm Winter Affecting New England Farms - NECN

Warm Winter Affecting New England Farms



    Warm winter affecting New England farms

    Soil can be turned and planted earlier; still, some wonder how the summer months will be for farming (Published Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014)

    (NECN: John Moroney) - Signs of life in the ground at Farmer Dave's in Dracut, Mass; this not-so-typical New England winter is giving some farmers a jump on the new season.

    "We prefer having a mild winter more than a harsh winter because right now, out in the field, I can go out there with my tractor and started fixing ground and getting it ready to go. Last year, I could have done that no way," said Clement Thompson, farm manager.

    It's mid-February and there's no snow in the fields - allowing the soil to be turned and planted earlier than normal. Even so, farm volunteer Susan Mitchell says the snow defict is not necessarily a good thing.

    "I'm worried about moisture levels in the soil this coming summer," said Mitchell. "And if it's already this warm in February, what's it going to be like in July?"

    Sunlight plays the biggest role in the growth of plants, so the warmer winter has not been a factor in that regard. Still, seedlings have started to sprout in the greenhouses - where temperatures have been maintained this year without the high cost of fuel, which became one of the real benefits of this mild winter, according to Thompson.

    "It does help us on fuel costs because it's not as cold as it was a couple of years ago and even last year with all that snow," said Thompson.

    Despite the warm winter, farming is still very unpredictable.

    "Just because we've had a mild winter does necessarily mean will have a good summer," said Mitchell. "And maybe we will, we can always hope."