Farmers battle against Utah’s infrequent weather
SALT LAKE CITY – Farmers need all the rain they can get, especially with yet another drought year, but what they’re getting with our constantly changing weather is not great.
In Box Elder County, farmer Krys Oyler said that the recent storms had taken a toll on his dry wheat fields without the snow cover and a good snowpack.
“It went through a tough winter with no snow cover,” Olyer explains. “The cold wind and snow cover took a toll on it, and then this spring and summer, it’s been so windy and hot and dry.”
Hundreds of acres are now very short and burned, and, in another field, the crops barely grew at all.
Oyler said the wide-ranging temperatures fooled the seeds into a quick winter to spring cycle.
“We had that snap off about a week of freezing cold days and nights. Then it warmed back up to 80 and 90 degrees day and night. That’s why I ended up with this spring in this bare field.”
And with rising costs of fertilizer and fuel, that’s a lot of money down the drain. But thanks to his one irrigated field, Oyler said he will at least break even.
“What we’re all banking on right now in this area is getting the summer rains,” he said. “Because if you look around these mountains and the fields, we need rain, and we need it for this fall.
Meanwhile, in Cache Valley, ValJay Rigby said our recent rainstorms have been enough to save much of his dry crops.
“We were really concerned that if we’d stayed in that dry pattern, there just wouldn’t have been anything,” Rigby said.
He said Cache Valley started the season with the Newton dam at 40 percent capacity, and thanks to the rain, they’ve only used 10% so far.
And while many grains are coming up short, Rigby believes he will be able to harvest most of it, but still at a smaller yield than usual.
“At this point, we’re still looking okay. We’ll have something to harvest.”
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