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Rain continues to push back field production for Exploration Acres

Workers at Exploration Acres are having a little trouble with their crop this year. This is raising concerns for their corn maze and pumpkin patch which is set to open in the Fall.

Posted: Jun 28, 2019 4:38 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2019 7:02 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—Northwest Indiana's largest corn maze and pumpkin patch is having a little trouble this year due to rain.

Workers at Exploration Acres are working overtime before it's too late.

"Yea we've just had miserable weather this year,” said President of Exploration Acres Tim Fitzgerald.

Fields at Exploration Acres are known for their creative mazes, pumpkins and fall activities.

"Every year we add new attractions,” said Fitzgerald. “And things around here and that requires some construction."

Parts of Tippecanoe County have not had more than three days of dry weather since December.

That's pushed back planting schedules for every farmer, including Exploration Acres.

"Trying to get that in for the next rain came this year was really difficult because the ground was already really saturated,” said Fitzgerald.

Finding time to plant pumpkins and the maze aren't the only problems they've run into.

"Killdeer and probably some crows too,” said Employee Steve Jackson.

Jackson has worked at Exploration Acres for five years. He said killdeer eat their pumpkin seeds the moment after they plant them.

"They seem to know where they are,” said Jackson. “And just go right down the line and they eat the seeds."

Killdeer are protected by Indiana State Law because they are considered migratory birds. Which means no harm can be done to them and with late planting, workers have no time to waste.

"We've tried some new steps this year to see if we can eradicate that,” said Jackson.

Workers have installed a siren system to keep crows away. They also do most of their planting at night with advanced technology.

"I'm very hopeful,” said Fitzgerald. “I mean the only wild card at this point is are we going to get back into a wet spell after summer."

To prepare for next year Fitzgerald said they will start a 3-year plan for tiling around the field. Tile drainage is a form of agricultural water management that removes water from the subsurface of the soil.

This year's design is a celebration of Purdue's 150th anniversary: featuring Neal Armstrong and Amelia Earhart.

Exploration Acres is expected to open September 13th.

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A cold and frosty start but enjoy the dry weather today.
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