By Lynne Adkins

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — These warm, sunny days in March can be good and bad news for area farmers.

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The mild winter and balmy temperatures have farmers one to two weeks ahead on the planting schedule, according to John Ebert, vice president of Springdale Farms in Cherry Hill, NJ.

“We’re able to get into the fields earlier, so there are some crops that we can plant sooner than we normally would — like peas, lettuces, and broccoli,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “They can go in much sooner than normal because the soil temperatures have warmed up.”

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He says perennial crops such as apples, strawberries, and blueberries are already flowering, and if the temperatures turn cold — and there is the chance of a freeze in this area until May 15th — those crops could be damaged or destroyed.

Crop-eating insects will also be a bigger problem this growing season, as the critters survived and thrived over the warm winter (see related story).

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