HAMER, Idaho (KIFI) – Recent rain and cold temperatures have posed difficult conditions for local farmers trying to harvest their crops. We're told the potatoes and alfalfa are especially difficult to get out of the ground.
Justin Place, a farmer in Hamer, says "Weather is a constant challenge for farming and we can control the things we can control, but we can't control the weather. And so we just have to learn how to roll with the punches."
Potatoes are very picky crops. To produce and harvest quality spuds, it can't be too hot, it can't be too cold, it has to be just right. But it's nearly impossible to get them out of the ground when it's wet and muddy.
The mud could pose major problems and threats to equipment like getting stuck another worry, getting tangled in vines.
Place says, "Think of it like a spaghetti noodle. A spaghetti noodle, when they're dry, they'll break up and just go away. But if you try, if you get them wet, they can wrap them on everything. And that's kind of what potato vines will do. They'll wrap up on any turning shaft and the trucks will wrap around drive lines."
Farmers are having to slow production not only due to weather, but now to ensure the equipment is clean and usable to avoid damaging the crop.
But there's still time to get the spuds out of the ground before it's too late. As for the alfalfa harvest, time is running out and the weather isn't helping this crop either. Place says, "Potato harvest can be slow and they can still harvest a good crop. Alfalfa, hay, on the other hand, as you get the windrows wet, they lose quality. The quality goes downhill quite fast on that feed value. And so you go from premium dairy hay, to feeder hay that's not worth near as much money. So it's quite a quite economic loss."