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Wet Weather Delays Planting For Central Valley Farmers

UC Farm Cooperative

Flooded fields, muddy ground, and constant rain are keeping Central Valley farmers from planting their crops.

Growers have a lot to worry about, from broken levees to standing water.

San Joaquin County farmer Marc Marchini says the wet soil makes it impossible to plant his safflower crop. And he’s also concerned about his grapes and alfalfa.

Marchini says the continuous storms have made it necessary to keep the pumps running to drain the water from his fields.

“If I let the water back up in the alfalfa fields, I’m killing all my first cutting, basically waterlogging it to the point I won’t get any production out of it all,” Marchini says.

UC Farm Advisior Brenna Aegerter says now is the time to plant tomatoes but the ground is too wet.

This puts growers in a pinch who have contract deadlines with the canneries.

“If you get behind, you’ve got so many acres you need to plant to get it all finished by June 1, which is when we’d all like to see it done,” Aegerter says.

Marchini says growers need at least a week to 10 days of dry weather before they can plant.

Copyright 2017 Capital Public Radio