Early Spring Creating Concern for Crops

By: Joe Harrington Email
By: Joe Harrington Email

FALLON, NV - Some farmers are seeing crops further along than is typical for March, creating concerns frost could damage plants. Farmers said warm, early spring conditions are likely the cause of the growth.

"It's ready to eat right now," Don Keele, farm manager at Lattin Farms, said of the spinach crop. He said the spinach is full-grown roughly a month early.

He said alfalfa is growing already.

"(The alfalfa plants are) going to struggle because there's been no water this winter," he said.

The garlic crop is now being watered through irregation, with plans to irrigate other crops soon.

"We've learned to adjust to weather because there is no normal weather in Northern Nevada it's always abnormal," Rick Lattin, the owner of Lattin Farms, said.

Large structures called: 'hoop houses' are protecting plants. Similar to green houses, the 'hoop houses' are made from pipes and clear plastic. Plants are also being covered.

In addition to concerns for water, a dip in temperatures could hurt fully grown plants. Lettuce is of particular concern in colder conditions, Keele said.

The Lattins have been farming in Churchill County for more than one-hundred years. While the farm is adapting to the challenges of Nevada's climate, Lattin said the warm-cold shifts produce sweeter plants. They have "a little more flavor than the things that are grown under perfect conditions," Lattin said.

Throughout the country, warm weather is causing some plants to bud early.


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