By Adam Eisenbarth
If you’ve noticed the weather has been a little wetter these days, you’d be right as rain.
In the past few years the agricultural industry has been looking for some decent rainfall and this year their wishes have been granted, to a point where farmers are now looking for some sunshine.
“We need the heat now. The heat and the sun can get things going, our moisture levels are back up to about an adequate level now so we should be good for a little while,” says Shayne Steffen, Ponoka County’s manager of agricultural services.
The heavy rainfall has caused issues for some farmers.
“There is some lodging happening in some of the cereal crops that I’ve seen. There’s some more areas where crops are getting flooded out.”
For those who have cut their hay, it was a painful time to watch the black clouds roll in day after day.
“The hay is losing quality the longer it sits out in the rain. If we see another rain we might lose some of that first-cut hay altogether.”
While the drenching comes with its share of negatives, Steffen says there is still plenty to be happy with this year.
“This has been great for pastures. A lot of the pastures have been able to keep up with the animals on it so we might even have some guys that are able to pasture later on into the fall and even have some carryover pasture into next year.”
But each farmer may react differently to the rain.
“It depends on the area that you were in. Some places got more than others. Anything that was in low-lying areas would definitely be affected.”
As for the crops, now desperate for some sun, Steffen says it won’t take much for things to start moving in a positive direction.
“I’d like to see about three good weeks of growing and that should get things back on track fairly quickly.”
If that doesn’t happen, farmers could see issues in the fall, Steffen said.
“We want to get those crops growing so we’re not too late and having a risk of frost.”
And while the farmers will be happy to see the sun, the rain replenished some moisture that had been lost over the past dry years.
“We can always use the rain, I don’t want to say we don’t want rain. That’s one thing about farming is it’s the timing of it, sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t.”