Dry spring challenges farmers

Eric Sparling
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Carter: Ground needs a good soak

FORT LAWRENCE – We’ve had rain recently, but for some farmers it may not be quite enough.

Marilyn Carter raises beef cattle in Fort Lawrence.

“It is, very dry,” she said.

Carter noticed when she was tilling the ground last weekend. She was surprised how far down into the soil the ground was devoid of moisture. She’s concerned the ground won’t produce, and she won’t have hay and pasture for her cattle.

The ground conditions are what she would expect in August. If she can’t grow food for her animals, she’ll need to buy it. Buy too much, and there’s no profit to be made.

“We need a good rain to catch up.”

The farmer wants to see enough moisture in the ground to carry her fields through the July-August dry spell.

“Things don’t look very good at the moment,” she said.

Wysmykal Farm, in Chapman Settlement, has turned to irrigation to help.

“It has been unusually dry…that did give us some cause for concern,” said Jessy Wysmyk, who runs the farm with her partner, Charles Ryan. They’ve deployed a drip irrigation system for seeds they’re planting now and transplants trying to take hold.

It’s a small, labour-intense, organic operation – just two and a half acres. An irrigation pond by the garden supplies water, which is pumped to drip lines. The lines are placed on the rows.

Wysmyk said their soil had some residual moisture even before the irrigation system was used.

“It’s also been really warm,” she said. Plants with sufficient water are growing well.

esparling@amherstdaily.com

Geographic location: Fort Lawrence, Chapman Settlement

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