Farmers' futures depend on debris still in the fields

Published 03/12 2014 04:16PM

Updated 03/12 2014 05:27PM

WASHINGTON -- Farmers are battling more than just the frozen ground. Although most of it has been removed, there are still small bits of debris on the fields from November's tornado. Ryan Piers reports for WCIA-3 News.

"We chiseled all that ground trying to get it all buried and we'll work it a couple more times before we plant," said farmer Curt Zehr.

Almost four months later, what's left are nails and small pieces of shingles; items that could serious damage his farming equipment. Each flat tire would cost three precious hours to fix.

"In the springtime, having a flat on a planter because every minute, every hour counts when you are trying to plant corn in a timely fashion," said Zehr.

This means he has to be extra careful when planting seeds.

"Most of the time I'm looking back, looking at the planter and letting auto steer go. Now, I'm more concerned about watching in front. Now it's going to be stressful going through those fields."

It will also be more costly.

"More fuel cost, equipment, more time to take beans to plant this year than it normally does."

Unfortunately this won't be the only hard spring for Washington farmers. Zehr expects to be battling the leftover debris for the next couple of years. For now, he's just glad for all the help from the community.

"We've been very fortunate to have a lot of people help us over the last fall and winter. There are lots of people who need more help than we do."

Zehr would like to be in the fields by mid-April, but says that's unlikely.

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