Rain was nice, but farmers need a lot more of it

Brian McInnis
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Prince Edward Island finally got rain Tuesday, (July 24) but farmers need at least another 30-40 millimeters just to bring the amount of moisture up to the July average, but it does not look like that is going to happen.

Heidi Wood, horticulturalist at Vesey Seeds, checks some broccoli plants in a test plot in York, Prince Edward Island.

Like many people in the agricultural business, Heidi Wood, horticulturalist at Vesey Seeds in York, was not exactly dancing in the rain Tuesday, but she was celebrating the rain that was at times heavy.

“They are calling for 50mm of rain and that is greatly welcome, but we need more than that…if we get 50mm that would definitely be a good help but I think generally the average for this time of the year is 80mm to 90mm for the month so this rain is better than nothing,” she said in an interview in one of the greenhouses at Vesey Seeds Tuesday as the rain rattled on the plastic roof.

Unfortunately her wish did not come true as Environment Canada reported that as of Tuesday evening the Island received 10-15mm and a further 10-15mm was possible overnight.

Vesey Seeds brings in various seeds from all over the world and grow them in test plots to determine which seeds will be added to their catalogues and while the lack of rain hurts the growing plants, Wood said that will “probably do OK, but we would definitely need at least that much more rain again next month.”  The company is not set up for irrigation so rain is vitally important for the plant trials.

A lack of rain also means the vegetables that are available now in stores are smaller in varieties such as beets, beans or peas, but Wood said that if the rains do come vegetables will recover because “I don’t think we are at the severe state that some regions of the country are, but if it continues to remain dry we will probably see a great reduction of size of produce.” She said some varieties of vegetables can handle the dry hot weather better than others and if this weather trend continues some farmers will be in trouble.

The Guardian



Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: York

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