If it feels like the summer heat has been relentless this year, that’s because it has been.
In fact, we’re closing out the month with the second hottest July on record in many regions.
The hot weather is doing more than just making us sweat, too. Farmers are certainly feeling the heat as the dry weather impacts their crops.
Lack of Rain Is Impacting Many Crops
Several farmers in the northeast United States are having a difficult time with the lack of rain. It’s impacting several crops.
Jason Nailor, a dairy farmer in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, talked to a local news outlet about how the weather is hurting his corn, hay, and soybeans.
“We have corn that should be 12 feet tall, but it’s 6 feet tall,” he told WHP, a CBS affiliate. “It should be putting an ear on the cornstalk, and we don’t even have nubs at this point.”
Essentially, a lack of water has severely stunted or delayed many crops.
On Nailor’s farm, the corn and hay is used as feed for his cows. However, the lack of rain means less feed for the cows on the dairy farm — which brings another problem: farmers like Nailor are now looking at buying feed out of pocket, which wasn’t in the budget.
Farmers Forced to Make Up for Lack of Rain
The weather is having a negative impact on plenty of other crops, as well. It’s leaving farmers saddled with having to make up for Mother Nature’s lack of rain.
“We’ve been doing significantly more irrigation than we’ve done in the past,” said Jacob Conover, the Farm Manager at Silverman’s Farm in Connecticut. “Specifically with our blueberries and our vegetable crops.”
This means more costs piled up on the farmers.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for all crops. For instance, tree fruit like apples and peaches don’t have an irrigation system. They have always relied on rain.
“We’re definitely going to see some effects of the dry weather when it comes to the fruit size and just the overall crop of the fruit,” said Conover.
Other farmers are also concerned about less immediate, more longterm impacts.
“It can effect sort of the longevity of the plants,” said another Connecticut farmer, Andy Billipp. “And you know that stress can come out in either less resistance to pests and disease, which generally hit a little later in the summer.”
Farmers are hoping that the weekend will bring a considerable amount of rain to help salvage some crops.