Tri-Cities farmer says current drought-like conditions are affecting fall crops

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JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL)- While it’s starting to feel like fall here in the Tri-Cities, that means it’s time for those fall activities like pumpkin patches and corn mazes.

However, could current weather conditions stop you from picking the perfect pumpkin?

Local farmers are saying their crops are being affected by the recent drought-like conditions.

As farmers are getting their pumpkin patches and corn mazes ready for the season, they are seeing some changes in their fall harvest.

Pumpkins and squash specifically take approximately 100 days to grow and harvest.

Farmers start planting from the first of June all the way until the fourth of July.

With hardly any rain the past couple weeks in the Tri-Cities, Carroll Fender, owner of Fender Farms, said without an irrigation system he may of not even had pumpkins this year.

“We do have drip irrigation on our pumpkins. That is the only reason that we have a pumpkin patch right now. We usually irrigate two times a week, give them an inch or so of water, and that has sustained them through this drought,” he said.

Fender said last year they had the opposite problem with their being too much rain. He didn’t harvest one pumpkin last year because of it.

This year they have plenty of pumpkins already picked and also on the vine for people to come to the farm and pick them themselves.

Though the pumpkins are safe from the dry weather, Fender says their corn stocks will start turning brown earlier this year because of the lack in rain.

“We plant our corn somewhere between the last two weeks of June. The corn has made but we, the last drought the five or six weeks, we haven’t had any rain. It’s going to allow the corn to dry up a little bit quicker this year than usual. We usually have green corn until the first frost, but it’s not going to be green that long this year,” said Fender.

He says this won’t affect the way the corn tastes, just the coloring of the husk.

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