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Area farmers beset by cloudy crop forecast


'Everything is a month behind'



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People who visit Morse Farms in Southbridge and other farms might notice a different selection because of last month’s incessant rain. Ryan Grannan-Doll. (click for larger version)
July 06, 2009
After a month with below-normal temperatures and sunlight, local farmers are predicting this year's harvest will be significantly affected.

"It's an absolute concern," said Sturbridge's Ed Cloutier. "Everything is a month behind. … If the rest of this year was good, we'd probably get about 60 to 75 percent of what we normally get."

Unfortunately for Cloutier and other agrarians, the National Weather Service isn't predicting much improvement. For July, its Climate Prediction Center is projecting a continuation of below-normal temperatures with above-normal rainfall, and its three-month forecasts call for more rain than usual through October, although temperatures will improve.

"This is the worst year I've seen, and I've been farming 60 years," Cloutier said. "The real pity to the whole thing is that, for the few dairy farms left, making hay is almost impossible. They're just hanging on, and something like this could put them over the edge."

See Monday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage.

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