UP farms experience delays from May snowstorm

Despite setbacks, farmers remain optimistic the late start will not affect their output.
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 6:18 PM EDT
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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - Some U.P. farms have delayed planting their spring crops due to the early May snowstorm.

Pileated Farms in Chatham is one of them. Owner Olivia Kingery said the sheer density of the snow was a contributing factor.

“Our fields just dried out, so it definitely pushed us back a little in terms of; you can’t plant in soggy, wet soil,” Kingery said. “Our tarps are there to heat up the soil and keep everything from getting rain, if it does keep raining, so it pushed things back.”

Kingery said these delays should not affect the farm’s output.

“Not necessarily the amount, it’s just maybe going to be a little later for some crops,” Kingery said. “Not the warmer season crops because they’re used to this, but some of those cooler crops like cabbage”

The MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham also experienced some delays. Director James DeDecker said greenhouses sustained damage and lost power. He also said this snowstorm was an indicator of climate change in the U.P.

“Things are getting warmer, we’ve got a longer growing season. We started field work in mid-April which is almost unheard of here,” DeDecker said. “But then we got dumped on with two feet of wet snow and had to pick up the pieces.”

It’s not just crops that are being delayed. Seeds and Spores in Skandia had to graze its livestock later.

“Our goal is to have them eating grass and in a normal year that happens right around the end of April, first of May, is when we can quit feeding them hay,” said Owner Jeff Hatfield. “Then move them out on the grass because the grass is usually growing by then.”

Hatfield believes that, given enough time, everything will be back on track.