Summertime sunshine and heat have benefited local gardens, but farmers are having a hard time harvesting hay.
Penn State Extension Educator Miguel Saviroff said although it has been hot this week, previous rains have prevented farmers from harvesting the crop. He said the rain is causing difficult, muddy conditions for machinery.
“The farmers have not been able to fully penetrate the fields to gather the hay,” Saviroff said.
He said farmers average about three to four harvests of hay a year, but some have only been able to get one or two harvests.
Saviroff said farmers have been taking advantage of drier days this week, with rain not expected until this weekend.
Tony Mach, meteorological technician at the National Weather Service in State College, said Somerset Borough can expect a 70 percent chance of rain on Saturday.
He said Somerset Borough has a totaled about 2.32 inches of rain for the month of July. The yearly average is about 42.98 inches.
Local garden growers are seeing a good harvest, despite the heat.
Larry Cogan, president of the Somerset County Farmers’ Market, said the rain from earlier this month was beneficial to vegetable crops.
“It wasn’t too excessive like we thought, but now we’re back to irrigation,” he said.
Cogan said the vegetables have all done well. He said the farmers market grows a wide variety of plants for sale, including corn, cabbage, potatoes and onions.
Although the vegetables are growing fine, Cogan said he noticed the heat seems to accelerate the ripening process. This process is usually two weeks, but now the process is less than a week. He suggests keeping an eye on crops.
Cogan said he is currently harvesting broccoli, which has already ripened and is ready to sell.
“We have to be watchful to move the product in an effective manner,” he said.
For local growers, Cogan recommends feeding plants more water in higher temperatures.
He said there has been no indication of blight, a fungal infection, within the crops. Blight affects crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.