Mild winter leads to early allergy season, issues for farmers in N.J.

It really hasn’t been much of a winter and the unusually mild weather is causing some problems.

The allergy season is off to an earlier start because of the warm weather.

The above-average temperatures also are proving troublesome for the greenhouse industry, says Richard Nieuwenhuis, president of the New Jersey Farm Bureau.

“Those of our friends that are growing Easter crops like your bulb-flowering plants, they’re having a little bit of a hard job,” he said. “Look around at nature itself, you see all the bulb crops coming up naturally on their own, and these guys are trying to hold them back until Easter for Easter sales.”

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Nieuwenhuis says farmers are concerned there were no prolonged freezes during the winter that would have killed off the pests that can damage crops.

State climatologist Dave Robinson said it’s been very dry for the past couple of months. If that pattern continues, it could draw down the water supply levels in New Jersey’s reservoirs.

March is on pace to be the 14th straight month of above-normal temperatures in New Jersey. And it could be the warmest March on record in the Garden State.

“Temperatures are running 9 degrees or so above average for the month, and the record for the month when all was said and done in 1945 was about 9 degrees above average,” Robinson said. “So if we can keep this pace up for the next 10 days, it’s going to be interesting to see which one comes out ahead.”

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