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      Wacky weather a win for local farmers

      With all of the rainfall accumulated since January and lower than average temperatures, local farmers say not only they've saved money not having to irrigate but they're predicting this 2013 could have a great crop season.Sheila Rice, one of the owners of Calhoun Produce, says her farm has seen such a high yield of strawberries that she's been forced to put them on sale to make sure they can sell them before they go bad.Rice says the steady rain is good for the land, however the heavy showers damage the berries.Mark Daniel of Mark's Melon Patch says normally by this point in the year, he's had to irrigate 5-6 times to grow his sweet corn but this year he's only irrigated once, and it was only to soften the top of the ground.Daniel says although the rain delayed his planting schedule by a week, he could see this being a great crop season for farmers if the weather predictions for a higher-than-average hurricane season are correct.However, the rain isn't the only bit of weather affecting farmers. The cooler temperatures are both an advantage and disadvantage for crops, depending on what type they are.Rice says the cooler temperatures have allowed her strawberries to stay fresher longer because the heat causes them to spoil more quickly, but Daniel says his farmers plant based off of soil temperatures and if they don't rise soon he'll have to push back his schedule again.Despite the small setbacks, farmers say the rainy weather is a much-needed blessing that will help them save a lot of money and hopefully make more with a big crop turnout.

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