Dry spring could lead to headaches for Valley farmers

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 11:55 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Although rain finally fell this weekend, many parts of the Valley are still dry.

A freeze and frost warning is in effect Monday night and these two extremes are causing planting problems for some local farmers.

“Not that we haven’t been getting regular rainfall, but we’ve been getting insufficient rainfall, they’ve been very light showers and not the really soaking rain showers were used to in the spring,” Jeff Ishee, a Shenandoah Valley farm broadcaster said.

This is impacting crop and animal farmers.

“The pasture conditions have deteriorated greatly over the last four weeks and soil moisture has also been lacking,” Ishee said.

Ishee said he is hopeful this weekend’s rainfall will help as more rain is predicted in the coming week.

“If we do end up indeed having a dry spring it’s gonna mean that cattle producers are gonna have less pasture to graze their cattle and their sheep and their animals and they’ll have to purchase more hay,” Ishee said.

Luckily, Ishee said last year was a good year for hay and that will be helpful to local farmers.

“As far as row crops, the biggest concern would be germination of corn and soybeans as they go out this spring,” Ishee said. “If we have a really dry spring and we have seen in the past it would be no real surprise that farmers might have to plant a crop twice in order to get a successful crop.”

Ishee said it is costing between $800-$900 per acre to plant corn so if farmers needed to replant they would ultimately lose money.

Ishee said the latest drought number will be out on Thursday morning and farmers will be able to really determine what the spring season will look like.

Current drought numbers can be found anytime on WHSV.com

WHSV drought monitor
WHSV drought monitor(WHSV)