Cash Crop Thrives Despite Weather Conditions

Asparagus is a big cash crop for the state of Michigan.

With things so dry, you’d think the plants would suffer.

But farmers say that’s not the case.

John Bakker, Executive Director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board believes the weather has aided in the growing of the crop.

“The dry weather right now has not affected it this year. In fact, it has enabled us to get out in the field.”

Bakker has been working with asparagus for more than thirty years at the Michigan Asparagus Research Field in Hart.

His crop of spears are already starting to peek out from underground.

“We are expecting a good crop. We’ve got a couple of early varieties that are just starting to poke out of the ground. The main season varieties will probably be coming up in the next four, five days.”

While a few plants like these asparagus shoots have taken a hit from recent cold, it’s early.

John says after mowing them down a few times, the state harvest will be a big one.

“With a lot of hand labor, we expect to harvest 20 to 21, 22 million pounds in the state this year. “

With enemies like frost and long term heat something to watch, John says the success of his crop depends completely on mother nature.

“We’re good for the first week or two of harvest. If we don’t start getting more regular rains by about the second, third week of may, our crop, at that point, will start to suffer.”

For now, if things keep going they way he hopes, John believes he’ll be pulling up asparagus by the pound soon enough.

“Right now? fingers crossed. We’re in great shape.”