Farmer’s Love/Hate Relationship With Rain
For dry land farmers, rain is the lifeblood of a bountiful crop. But as with everything, too much of a good thing, can be bad.
The winter wheat crops on the Palouse are emerging from their winter sleep with plenty of moisture in the ground. This springs rain has been good for the crop, but if the wheat doesn’t get a chance to dry out, wheat rust will become a problem. Wheat rust is a fungal disease that can cause crop loss of up to 20 percent.
Bill Meyers, who’s family has been farming land near Colfax for 70 years says he’s seen a little rust already forming. The second problem all the spring rain has caused is the fact that farmers are unable to work in the fields because the soil is so saturated. That means winter wheat crops have to be sprayed from the air and spring wheat crops can’t be seeded.
Meyers says if the conditions continue for another week or so it could become a problem for the spring crop. It would be difficult for the wheat to fully mature before the high heat of summer hits.