By Jocelyn Turner
[Amherst, NS] – The dry, humid weather has begun to take its toll on (Nova Scotia) blueberry farmers. Growers like Steve Gibson are finding themselves at the mercy of Mother Nature.
© (Photo: Jocelyn Turner/Amherst Daily News)
Amherst, Nova Scotia farmer Doug Bacon says rain has been holding back his berry and barley crops.
“Berries are fairly resilient but it’s starting to have an impact,” said Gibson about the lack of rain. “Everything has come to a standstill as far as the ripening process. We’re desperately in need of some rain.”
Gibson said (July 16) the thundershowers from last week did little to raise his hopes for his crop. He said they need a few days of consistent rain in order for the berries to ripen to a good size.
“They (thunderstorms) don’t do anything because the water just runs off the land quickly,” he said. “It needs to be a nice steady rain in order to soak in the ground.”
Farmer Doug Bacon has also seen the effects of a dry summer. Bacon grows blueberries as well as barley to feed his cows.
“The heads (of the barley) need to fill out. They are forming right now and what we need is some moisture to fill them out,” he said. “If not, they’ll just develop small and there won’t be much feed value to it.”
Without a good intake of barley, Bacon said he would have to go elsewhere and purchase feed for his dairy cows.
“When you buy something, it’s usually more expensive than what you grow it for, that’s the sad part about it.”
Both Gibson and Bacon said they started their crops early and are now sitting back, waiting for some rain.
“It’s sitting and praying and waiting for Mother Nature. She’s ultimately in charge,” said Gibson. “She’s a nasty mistress.”
Gibson said if they get the rain their crops need, they may be able to begin picking as early as the first week of August.
“Because we had a warmer than normal spring, everything was almost two weeks ahead,” he said. “We’re going to be about a week early. But everything always changes.”
Amherst Daily News