ABC 20 Streaming LiveSpotlight 20Pump PatrolRaw NewsPay It ForwardSchool ClosingsElection Results


TUESDAY NIGHT: Clear. Low 42. Winds: Light.WEDNESDAY: Sunny. High: 74 Winds: South-southeast 10-20 mph, gusting up to 25 mph.

more »

Advertise with us!

WICD Newschannel 15 :: News - On the Farm - Backwoods Berry Farm Prepares for Growing Season

Backwoods Berry Farm Prepares for Growing Season

For nearly twenty years, the folks at Backwoods Berry Farm have been growing strawberries.

Now that spring is finally here, there is plenty of work to be done on the berry farm.

Beneath all this straw are strawberry plants waiting to be uncovered for spring.

"Cover them up and put them to bed. And the reason we cover them takes about 600 bales of straw to cover our entire patch. It takes us about two days to get the job accomplished," said Dale Conrady, Partner of Backwoods Berry Farm.

But strawberries are just one of several specialty crops grown at Backwoods Berry Farm in Hettick.

"We start with asparagus in late April, we go right into strawberry season and that follows with blueberry season then blackberry season and peach season," said Becky Conrady, Partner at Backwoods Berry Farm.

Which keeps the Conradys busy all year.

"It's just about year-round management. We got all the pruning to do. We got about 25 hundred blueberry plants we gotta get through and about 200 blackberry plants and 300 peach trees so pretty much end of February through April is nothing but pruning," Dale Conrady said.

The Conrady's opened Backwoods Berry Farm back in 1994.

"After just our very first season of strawberries, we knew we had a good chance. We were completely picked-out and bowled over by the response so we knew right then we had the possibility of a good business here," said Becky Conrady.

And they were right.

What started as just two acres of strawberries turned into twelve acres of various specialty crops.

"We never really expected it to get this big. I mean most of the experts gave us a life expectancy of about three or four years. Here we have been doing it 20," said Dale Conrady.

The secret?

"Loving what you do. Producing a quality crop. The interaction with the customers," Dale Conrady said.

Just like any farm, growing specialty crops can be challenging, especially when mother nature doesn't cooperate.

The conrady's crops are still showing damage from Summer 2012.

"The extremely high heat. The 108, 109 degrees really took its toll. We actually had trees burn. We probably lost close to 200 blueberry bushes, because of the excessive heat," said Dale Conrady.

And the cold winter will make for a late spring.

"And of course that makes for late production, late harvest, so whereas we would normally have strawberries in mid-may, i'm sure it will be late may before our strawberries are ready," Becky Conrady said.

But when they are ready, the Conradys will know..

"Rule of thumb is don't uncover them until the dandelions bloom."



Backwoods Berry Farm Prepares for Growing Season

Wednesday, April 23 2014, 10:23 AM CDT

Related Stories

On the Farm Stories

Springtime Soil

Small Equipment Repairs Workshop

Volunteers Needed In Gifford

Nutrient Management Program Comes to Springfield Watershed

Agriculture Legislative Day

Emerald Ash Borer Seminar

Calving Season Starts

Agriculture Workshops This Week

Soy As Food

Gardening Events in March

Grain Bin Rescue Training

Grain Opportunities To Expand Business

Mega Hog Farm Could Be Coming To Menard County

Corn And Soybean Demand Changes

Calling All Green Thumbs

Soil and Water Organization Importance

Beef Expo Comes To Springfield

Program To Retain Farm Workers

Pig Lesson For School Children

Two Gardening Events Coming Up

Community Garden Forum

Fresh Winter Veggies

Small Farm Webinar Series

Champaign County SWCD Annual meeting and Midwest Expo

Winter Wine Festival

Farm-To-Table Changing The Food Industry

January Soybean Report

Farm Service Agency Employees Take Part in Farm Bill Training

How To Handle Bees

Fair Leaders Attend Convention, Improve Their Fairs

Area Residents Concern On Possible Hog Farm

Illinois Crop Record Set

Upcoming Conservation Cropping Seminar

Beck's Could Be Coming To Effingham

Landowner Workshop

Corn and Soybean Classic

Macon Co. Farmer Wins Award

Pollination Increase

Grain Bin Safety

Farmer Crop Webinars

Master Gardeners Training

NRCS Healthy Soils Initiative

Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Wants Feedback

Local Farmers Worry About Farm Income After Drop In Grain Prices This Fall

Soybean Webinar

Cover Crop Soil Information Opportunity

Poinsettias Making Way Back To Nursery Shelves

Central Illinois Foodbank Donation

Conservation Cropping

Harvest Update From The USDA

More Families Eating Local Ham This Christmas

Corn and Soybean Report

Small Land Productivity

Waterways and Cover Crops

Preventing Apples From Turning Brown

Women Farmers

Seeds of Hope

Cover Crop Seminars

Agriculture Events This Week

Upcoming Election For Farmers and Ranchers

Logan County Farmer In The Running To Be The Next Face of Farming And Ranching

Tractor Safety

Leasing Land Program

Farmers Working to Beat the Rain

Tracking Soybean Yields

Illinois Harvest Slowly Coming Along

Farm Machinery Mechanics Repair Equipment Right In The Field

Night With The Danville Dashers

Soggy Weather Causes Concern for Farmers

Bumper Crop Putting State's Transportation System to the Test

Grain Elevators Requesting Extra Storage Space

Turkey Farmers Prepare for Holiday Season

Flavors of Fall: Apples Appearing at Central Illinois Farm Stands

National 4H Week

Need To Know: Cover Crops

Soy Acre Challenge To Help Hunger

Kristin's Pumpkin Patch Opens for Season

Chambersburg Gardener Grows Strawberries Hydroponically

Increase in Illinois Farm Deaths

Rain Gardening Program

Wet Weather Delays Corn Harvest

Calling All Garden Lovers

Harvest Means Farm Equipment on Roadways

Childrens Program on Farm Importance

Apple Harvest Ready For This Season

Farmers Work to Keep Livestock Cool in Summer Heat

Drainage Class

Jacksonville Couple Named Sustainable Agriculture Farmers of theYear

USDA Soybean Report

Ag Golf Tournament

Covered Crops

Agriculture, Main Point To State Fair

Soybean Survey

Preparing Animals For The State Fair

July Soil Temps

New Safety Net Programs Bring Change

Harness Races Draw Spectators at Logan County Fair

Bee Keeping Seminar

Crop Analyzing

Rain Impact On Crop Nitrogen

Pesticide Recycling Program

Dairy Show Kicks off Christian County Fair

Farmers and Ranchers Alliance

Legistators and Corn Crop

Importance Of Bees On Agriculture

Weed Dating Event

Farmer Opportunity

Buy Illinois Challange

Crop Dusting is in Full Swing

Healthy Ponds and Happy Fishermen Event

Soil Results For June

Soybeans and Wheat Update

Shed Sale

Suttill Gardens' Years Of Experience Contribute To Success

June Averages Much Different This Year

Soil Health

Dairy Month Events

Washington Family Continues Rebuilding Farm after November Tornado

Extension System Celebrates 100 Years

Beardstown Students Learn about Ag with Exploration Day

Weeds and Crops

Winter Wheat Harvest

Upcoming Agriculture Events

Cooper's Streatside Bistro

Master Gardeners Event

Soil Moisture For May

Timber Workshop

Local Wine Present at Farmer's Market

Massive Rains, Heavy Winds Impact Crops

Agritourism Workshop

Soil Health Webinar

U of I Gets Grant to Help Farmers Navigate New Farm Bill Programs

64 Percent of Soybean Crop Planted

Illinois Soybean Board Looking for Director Candidates

Strawberry Season is Here

Chatham Coffee Master Educates Mexican Coffee Farmers on Production

Corn and Wheat Crop Reports

Soil Temperatures

Corn Planting Nearly Complete in Illinois

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

Technology is Revolutionizing the World of Agriculture

Countryside 10k to Benefit Champaign County Farm Bureau

78 Percent of Illinois Corn Crop Planted

U of I Extension Hosting Weather Seminar

Farmland Transition

R&R Hydroponics Featured at Farmers Market

Sherman Grandmother Plays Large Role in Running Family Farm

May is Wetlands Month in Illinois

Central Illinois Farmers Leading State in Corn Planting

Food Safety Techniques Seminar

Corn Farmers Ask for More Trade Opportunities with Cuba

43 Percent of Illinois Corn Crop Planted

Farmers Discuss Transportation Issues in Vermillion County

32 Percent of Corn Crop Planted

New Farm Bill Means New Federal Programs

Master Rosarian Cares for 465 Rose Bushes

Champaign County Stewardship Week

Sustainability on Soybean Farms

Planting Season off to Slow Start

New Research on Farm Pests

Pleasant Plains Farm Welcomes New Lambs

Spring Planting Underway in Central Illinois

Paul Tree Farms Grow Thousands of Trees

Farmers Rushing to Apply Ammonia Between Rains

PrairiErth Farm Prepares to Plant Vegetables

Virden Man Used John Deere Part to Create First Break-Away Basketball Rim

Backyard Chicken Workshop

Women Farmers Invited to Conservation Discussion

Backwoods Berry Farm Prepares for Growing Season

App Helps Farmers Keep Track of Pesticide Application

Beef & Beyond Workshop

Good Ag Practices Workshop

Wine Maker Pruning Vineyard Ahead of Growing Season

Exploraces 2014

Roots for Improvement: Cover Crops

Soil Structure

Agritourism Business Exploding in Illinois

Lincoln Memorial Garden Turns Sap into Syrup

Jacksonville Students Celebrate FFA Week with Petting Zoo

Prairie Land Heritage Museum Turns 45

Tropical Plants Bloom All Year Long at Pleasant Nursery

Students Learn the Art and Science of Horseshoeing

Farmers Learn how to Keep Records in Ag Accounting Class

Winemaking Continues in Winter

Cattle Producers Battle Cold Weather

Farmers Prepare for Spring Planting

Hobby Turned Business for Cherokee Flats Rabbitry

Farm Stores in the Holiday Spirit

Produce Farmers Prepare for Winter

Students Harvest Thousands of Pounds of Turnips

Manito Man Opens Antique Car and Tractor Museum

Number of Women in Agriculture Industry is Increasing

Warrensburg Man Collects Hundreds of Farm Toys

Implement Dealers Busy Repairing Harvest Equipment

Monticello Turkeys are Almost Ready for Thanksgiving

Greenview Man Promoting Poultry

Gail's Pumpkin Patch Ready for Season

Broom Orchard is Ready for Apple Season

Jacksonville Teen in the Running for National Tractor Restoration Competition

Hydroponics Helps Gardeners Battle Drought

Calmer Corn Heads Owner Makes Huge Impact

Farm Progress Show Preview

Honey Show Buzzes Into State Fair

A Bit of Everything at Krone Farms

Day In The Country Coming Up

Detasseling a Hot Job

Carlinville Orchard Ready for Peach Crop

Rosamond Dairy Farmers Hard At Work

Local Flavors Meal Series Returns

Preparing Pigs For Show

Strawberry Season Delayed by Weather

Planting Season Finally Hits

Illinois Products Farmers Market Opens for Season

Reading, Writing, and Agriculture

Farmers Lead the Fight Against Flooding

Produce Farmer Battling Mother Nature

Growing a Greenhouse into a Family Business

Produce Grower Looks Forward to Better Season

2013 Growing Season Outlook

Restoring Antique Tractors for a Living

Turning Tiny Planters Into Big Business

Raising Llamas in Central Illinois

Rescuing Horses from Neglect

Greenhouse Work Starts Early

Making Maple Syrup in Central Illinois

Growing Wine Grapes Means Year-Round Work

Ag Company Takes on Carbon Sequestration

Raising Bison on the Prairie

Are Mild Winters Creating More Insect Problems?

Continuing Evolution of Farm Equipment

Farmers Welcome 2013

Farm Creates Legendary Deer Hunting Destination

3 Generations of Family Farm Equipment for Sale

Students Raise Ag Awareness With a Very Affordable Meal

Raising Reindeer in Central Illinois

Raising a Wide Variety of Natural Food

Raising Vegetables After the Farmers Markets Are Closed

Making Fresh Cider on the Farm

Raising Delicious Pumpkins

New High Tech Hog Facility Opening

Turkey Crop is Nearly Ready

Family Pumpkin Farm Hits The Busy Season

Preparing for the Heritage Steam Show

Taking a Lunchbreak for Safety

Community College Harvests Knowledge

3 Very Different Farms Open Up for Tours

Corn Test Plots Yield Valuable Data

Harvesting Seed Corn Isn't Like Traditional Feed Corn

Advertise with us!

  • WICS :: News - Traffic


    Get up to the minute traffic reports from WICS NewsChannel 20!
  • WICS :: News - Health Matters

    Health Matters

    Featuring news segment videos about health.
  • WICS :: News - In The Kitchen

    In The Kitchen

    Watch the area's best chefs whip up their tastiest creations. See them in action and get their recipes to try at home. 
  • WICS :: News - Behind The Headlines

    Behind The Headlines

    Get Behind the Headlines commentary with Mark Hyman.
  • WICS :: News - Ready, Set, Shred

    Ready, Set, Shred

    In an exclusive eight-week investigation, ABC Newschannel 20 digs deep into the Springfield police document shredding scandal.
  • WICS :: News - Pay it Forward

    Pay it Forward

    Pay It Forward... because sometimes people need a little extra help.
  • WICS :: News - Ask the Expert

    Ask the Expert

    Do you need expert advice? Here's your chance to ask our experts!
  • WICS :: News - Your Voice. Your Future.

    Your Voice. Your Future.

    As the country faces challenges from federal budget issues to jobs and national debt, your voice is critical to the future.
  • WICS :: News - Road Trippin

    Road Trippin

    Come Road Trippin' with us! Check out all the great attractions in your area!
  • WICS :: News - Pump Patrol

    Pump Patrol

    Check out the ABC Newschannel 20's Pump Patrol to find the lowest prices, report low prices and get gas saving tips.

  • WICS :: News - Spotlight 20

    Spotlight 20

    Local organizations and community leaders tell us about events in central Illinois.
  • WICS :: News - Raw News

    Raw News

    Watch extra news footage, full interviews, and extended stories that didn't make it on air.  "Raw News" may include content that is not suitable for children and is intended for mature audiences only.
  • WICS :: News - On the Farm

    On the Farm

    Whether it's topical segments on what's happening on local farms to commodity prices, we have the world of central Illinois agriculture covered.
  • WICS :: News - Fugitive Files

    Fugitive Files

  • WICS :: News - Home Room

    Home Room

    When's the next school board meeting? Where's the basketball game? What's for lunch today? Do we have a snow day tomorrow? We have all the information you need for a successful school year--no pencil or ...
  • WICS :: News - No Text Zone

    No Text Zone

    Texting while driving kills thousands of people each year. Many more are seriously injured.  Keep central Illinois roads safe by taking the "No Text Zone" pledge.
  • WICS :: News - Business News

    Business News

    Stay up-to-date on the biggest business stories from around the nation.
  • WICS :: News - Pet of the Week

    Pet of the Week

    The cutest video you'll see anywhere! You won't be able to resist these adorable friends who need someone to love them.
  • WICS :: News - Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments are using your money wisely...or wasting it.
  • WICS :: News - Washington Times

    Washington Times

    Politics, Breaking News, US and World News.
  • WICS :: News - Health Care Reform

    Health Care Reform

    The Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act sparked a new battle. Check here daily for the latest developments, locally and across the country.

more »

Tonight on WICS

7:00 - Fresh Off the Boat
7:30 - Repeat After Me
8:00 - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:00 - Forever
10:00 - NewsChannel 20 at 10

Complete Schedule »

WICS Pay It Forward
Buzzed Driving Prevention PSA
WICS Cheers For The Years
Jimmy Kimmel
WICS Storm Team