Being a farmer in Northern Michigan means keeping a close eye on Mother Nature.
Andrea Bushre, the director of farm operations of NanBop Farms, said the warmer weather we’ve had this winter is causing concern for some farmers in the area.
“It hits your bottom line pretty fast. And if it if you’re not prepared for it or if they’re hitting you a lot harder than you anticipated, then it hits your bottom line because they’re decimating your crops,” said Bushre.
She said bugs are more than just a nuisance for farmers, it can cost them serious cash.
Bushre says some insects go dormant in winter by going underground until the soil warms up. Since the frost this year was not very deep, she said the populations of insects, like Japanese Beetles or ticks could remain higher this year.
“Being a diverse farm, we have vegetables, we have an apple and pear orchard. And so those are all things that are highly impacted by insects. So, I spend most of my time dealing with that and trying to prevent that,” said Bushre.
Field crop educator with the MSU Extension, Monica Jean, works closely with farmers. Jean said this is actually the sixth warmest winter we’ve had on record since 1895. She said the best defense when there’s an increase in insects is to monitor the fields more closely.
“I preach this with all the farmers that we work with. A lot of my colleagues do. We have a really great center around integrated pest management, but that is getting out into the fields and knowing what’s going on and what that pressure is,” said Jean.
Jean said keeping a close eye on the weather, comes with the territory of being a farmer in Michigan.
“It’s like this every season. And so we just you got to be very cognizant of your, what the weather conditions, your field conditions, and then you just try to make the best decisions possible,” said Jean.