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Pumpkin patches coping with ruined crop after bad weather | News

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Pumpkin patches coping with ruined crop after bad weather

ROLAND, Ark. (KTHV) - If you go looking for pumpkins this weekend, don't be surprised if the pickings look a little slimmer than usual. Bad weather has hurt the Halloween crop, leaving pumpkin patches to cope with the loss.

"Way too much rain, too much infrequency, and too much when we got it. So, the pumpkins were being flooded. The seeds were being flooded before they even had a chance to come up, and then once they got up they would get rot," said Karen Bradford, a pumpkin farmer at BoBrook Farms (Info: www.bobrookfarms.com). At this point, there would usually be hundreds of pumpkins growing off the vines at the farms located west of Little Rock. "I've never had to order everything. I had to order everything. I had nothing this year that I could open up with."

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Bradford's farm produced 90 percent fewer pumpkins than usual, and blames heavy rains in July for washing out her crop. And, if the rain wasn't enough, Bradford added that the cooler temperatures made the problem even worse.

"We picked 12 pumpkins off of 5 acres," she stated. "We planted six times. I had to reorder seed twice, and I've never had to do that before."

She had to ship in the ones now resting in her fields from Newport, but trucking in pumpkins adds to the cost of doing business, and for Bradford, that means taking a hit this fall harvest.

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"It obviously cuts directly into your profit margin. We base a lot of what we make is on us growing our own pumpkins, so that we can sell and make the full profit and that's cut completely in half or worse," she explained.

While pumpkin production was dismal this year, Bradford did have one good thing going for her farm.

"While the pumpkin crop suffered greatly from the heavy rains in the month of July, the sunflowers here at BoBrook Farms thrived," she said, pointing out a silver lining in the midst of a frustrating season. "The sunflower maze enjoyed the cooler weather and all the rain. We've somehow or another timed that one just right."

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