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Hot Weather A Mixed Blessing For Farmers

File photo of workers harvesting watermelons at Bellinger Farms in Hermiston, Oregon.
Oregon Department of Agriculture
File photo of workers harvesting watermelons at Bellinger Farms in Hermiston, Oregon.

This summer's hot, dry weather has been a mixed blessing for Northwest farmers.

File photo of workers harvesting watermelons at Bellinger Farms in Hermiston, Oregon.
Credit Oregon Department of Agriculture
/
Oregon Department of Agriculture
File photo of workers harvesting watermelons at Bellinger Farms in Hermiston, Oregon.

It's always hot at this time of year, especially in the inland Northwest. But produce farmer Jack Bellinger said this year takes the cake.

"In the 20 years or so that I've been here, I would say this is the warmest July that we've ever had,” he said.

Bellinger grows melons, cucumbers and more on his farm near Hermiston, Oregon. He says the veggies actually like the heat — as long as you harvest them in time.

"The quality has actually been really good,” Bellinger said. “It's just accelerated the ripening time."

Hotter than normal weather can wreak havoc with wine grapes and lower milk production by dairy cattle. And just like humans, tree fruit such as apples and peaches can also get sunburn.

An unseasonably warm summer can also cut into potato yields and puts an extra strain on the region’s irrigation systems.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.