This has been the driest summer we’ve seen in years!
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) says it's the kind of drought that is only expected once every 2 decades. All you need to do is look at any patch of grass (that hasn’t been watered) and you will notice the effect of the drought we’re experiencing - dry and brown!
So what problems do farmers face with a drought?
One obvious result is that we are having to irrigate a lot more. We pump our water from the creek (with a permit) and the electricity bills have just shot up! We're lucky to still have available water in the creek (for now!), and we also fill up a pond for backup, but some farmers use wells, which can dry up, or worse - some farmers have to water by hand!
Another challenge organic farmers face in a drought is that crops grow much slower than normal and the weeds surpass them (they are more resistant to dry weather), therefore all of our field workers are busy tackling weeds by hand instead of tending to other tasks on the farm. Priorities!! And let me tell you, weeding is one of the top priorities in organic farming, taking up hundreds of man hours throughout the growing season!
The Ideal Scenario
There have been a few, very quick and heavy rains, but they haven't been very helpful. When the ground is so dry, and there is a short heavy rain, the soil does not absorb the water well, and this heavy rain will run off and can erode the soil. What we’d love to have is a slow and steady rain for a lengthy period of time - say at least once a week? An inch at a time will do just fine!
Photo Credit: www.borgenmagazine.com