Farmers hoping for rain
Posted at: 07/25/2012 5:17 PM
| Updated at: 07/25/2012 6:37 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
Many people in the Rochester area especially farmers have been hoping for rain to water those thirsty crops.
Farmers say they really need a two or three day soaking rain, but they’ll take thunderstorms and heavy downpours, even with the expected runoff from their parched fields, if that’s all they can get.
George Moore of Gro-Moore Farms in Rush farms 500 acres. News10NBC got a peek at just how dry it is in a patch of field corn off Route 15.
Moore said, “Got some pretty bone dry soil. There's not much moisture kicked up there. And after we get a few inches of top soil pulled back, it's hard as a rock.”
Despite the forecast, Gro-Moore was irrigating this nine acre pumpkin patch just in case they don't get the rain. They draw the water from nearby Honeoye Creek. Moore says if a heavy rain does come, they'll take it.
Moore said, “At this stage of growth, we're beginning to determine our crop, both in numbers and in size. And it's important that we get water on them right now. Whether I do it or God does it, this plant needs water.”
The drought has caused area farm ponds to go down dramatically. At Colby Homestead Farms in Ogden, farmer Bob Colby showed us the effect of the drought on one of his three ponds.
Colby said, “This pond is down six and-a-half feet. We have only one foot left. This is a 2-acre pond and so by the end of the week, we'll be done irrigating out of this pond.”
Colby turned on his irrigation rig while News10NBC was there. He was watering cabbage and potatoes.
Colby said, “A long soaking rain over two of three days is like gold right now. But if I got an inch of rain that came in three hours, I'd be happy.”
Back at Gro-Moore, they also irrigate sweet corn and tomatoes. Most farmers who grow vegetables for the fresh market use irrigation. But that added cost will likely mean higher prices to the consumer.
Moore said, “Most of the area vegetable producers have been able to keep adequate water on their crops, so I think for the most part quality should be pretty good out there for vegetables. But we all could use a break and it's going to add to the cost.”
Dean Norton is the president of the New York Farm Bureau. He says the situation is not critical yet, but he’s concerned. Farmers in Western New York have a long way to go to get out of the drought conditions.