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N.B. farmers behind schedule

May 16, 2008  By The Canadian Press

May 16, 2008, Maugerville, N.B. – Flood damage in New Brunswick is putting some farmers behind schedule.

May 16, 2008, Maugerville, N.B. – Farmers in the Maugerville area of New Brunswick say they are far behind schedule because of the damage and waterlogged fields left behind after the St. John River spilled its banks almost two weeks ago.

Buzz Harvey, owner of Harvey's Big Potato, says he is working dawn to dusk, trying to make up for lost time at his operation south of Fredericton.

He estimates losses at his 80-hectare farm will surpass $100,000.

“Normally, we begin planting in mid-April,” he said.

The floors of his four greenhouses were covered by cold river water and that stunted the growth of the tomato plants.

Gary Aylward, owner of True's Plant Nursery, said flood damage at his farm will top $20,000 – that includes lost sales during the Mother's Day weekend.

“Overall, I'm pleased there wasn't more damage,” he said. “Other people are suffering more than we are.”

He supplies stores and private customers with bedding plants.

“We had four feet of water in the greenhouses and we lost some plants and suffered a lot of damage to the greenhouse structures,” he said.

He repaired 10 furnaces used to heat seven greenhouses. Some equipment and fertilizer bags caught in the flood waters remain strewn around the fields.

“What hurts most is the down time. We have to stop what we normally do this time of year and fix what is broken or in need of repairs,” Aylward said.

Planting is also behind by several weeks at McKinney's U-pick, also in Maugerville.

“We had water over the property and into the basement of the house and the fields are still wet,” said owner Ruth McKinney. “It won't hurt the U-pick business. It just means we'll be late planting the fields. It could have been worse.”

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