Despite warmer-than-average temperatures and a lack of snow since the start of 2020, the outlook for agriculture in central Connecticut this year is still positive.
January’s snow levels were 9 inches below average and February is 10 inches below average, according to WFSB meteorologist Mark Dixon. He added that this deficit will grow with no snow expected for the rest of the month.
“It feels like even more mentally,” Dixon said about the lack of snow.
In addition to low snow levels, temperatures have been warmer than average. At 6.9 degrees warmer than average, Connecticut experienced it’s ninth hottest January since records began in 1905, Dixon said.
Many residents may be worried that these conditions will result in a drought in the area, but according to Dixon and other experts, that is not the case.
“It’s been a very rainy winter,” Dixon said. “So no risk of drought.”
In fact, despite the lack of snow, overall precipitation levels are 2.5 inches above average this winter.
Central Connecticut State University Geological Sciences Professor Jennifer Piatek admitted that it’s never easy to determine what impact winter weather will have on crops.
“There’s so many factors that go into this that it’s hard to tell,” Piatek said. She agreed that this year a drought is unlikely and that if crops were to be affected at all it would be the warmer temperatures causing plants to start budding earlier than usual.
“It’s an overall trend,” Piatek said. “Birds are migrating earlier, plants are coming out earlier.”
Diane Karabin, longtime owner of Karabin Farms in Southington, said that she is seeing this trend as well.
“Even if you drive around neighborhoods, you’ll see the daffodils are already emerging,” Karabin said.
According to Karabin, some early “puffing” from some plants won’t change the plans of her and her staff.
“We haven’t had extreme warm this year so I don’t think it’ll damage anything,” Karabin said. “I think we’re on track for a normal year.”
This “extreme warm” that Karabin referenced most recently happened in 2017 when temperatures reached 70 degrees at the end of Feb. and then dipped back down to six degrees on March 1.
“That was the year we had no peaches,” Karabin said.
Karabin echoed the sentiment of Dixon and Piatek that although there wasn’t much winter weather this year, farms shouldn’t face any issues.
“It will be business as usual,” Karabin said.