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Pennies from heaven?

Farmers split on whether recent rain helps or hurts

Morse Farm stand has seen its share of rain-related problems this year. Owner Randy Morse said the rain keeps customers away from the farm stand and delays planting of certain crops. Ryan Grannan-Doll. (click for larger version)
October 04, 2010
Mother Nature brought local farmers both a gift and a curse Friday — the rain.

About 2.32 inches of rain, remnants from Tropical Storm Nicole, which swept through Worcester County Friday, gave local farmers a chance to water their crops after a recent dry spell. Farmers are dived on whether they will benefit from the precipitation. Some believe it is a bad thing, others see it as a gift.

To Randy Morse, who owns Morse Farms stand on North Woodstock Road in Southbridge, the rain is somewhat of a damper on growing some crops. He said the heavy rain will delay the planting of potatoes.

"In a wet year you can't do anything," Morse said. "We need dry dirt to work in."

The water can cause other problems as well. Morse said that water buildups can cause disease in some crops. It would take quite a bit of water, however, to do that, he said.

The amount of rain that falls over a certain period of time can also have a great effect on crop production. Morse said rain falling in short spurts over several days is preferable to heavy downpours. Short rain bursts, he said, allow time for the ground to dry up before additional rain arrives.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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