Recent Rainstorms Simultaneously Hurt and Help Crops - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Recent Rainstorms Simultaneously Hurt and Help Crops

Posted: 08/30/2017 18:51:00 -04:00 Updated:

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - August's wet weather has some Sussex County farmers saying thanks, and others seeing red. Michael Magee says it's the worst on watermelons.

"The water brings on fungus and bacteria," he says. "When the vines die, [the watermelons] have no cover and the sun burns them. They're no good anymore because they have a scald spot on the top."

Magee says the rain also makes it harder to handpick the crop.

"We were pulling a school bus with a tractor and pushing it with a bulldozer just to get them out," he says. "You gotta do whatever you can to just get it out and recoup your costs."

Magee estimates 50% of his family's watermelon field in Roxana will be lost due to the rain. But in Greenwood, Willard Kauffman's soybean farm is happily drinking in all the rain.  

"As long as it's not too excessive and you have standing water and your fields are drained well it works out pretty well to get a fair amount of rain," he says. "This is right the time when soybeans need it the most when they are filling pods and they require a lot of water."

Soybeans will be harvested in October, whereas watermelons must be picked within the next few days.

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