Local farmers still looking for more rain to help crops

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 12:40 AM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - The newest drought monitor has shown changes for some but not everyone in our viewing area.

Last week, our viewing area was in a minor to moderate drought. This week, there have been improvements where we had rain so about half of the area is now out of a drought.

Overall, the rain is still needed for most of our region.

Michael Myers, owner of Myers Pumpkins in Rockingham County has not seen much rain lately. Myers said over the last week, he’s seen only a few hundredths of an inch of rain.

For fall crops that are planted in the ground this time of year, that’s concerning.

“It’s the planting season this time of year in the spring. Soybeans, pumpkins, and corn are going into the ground and it’s essential we get rainfall to get the seed to germinate. Some of the seeds are no deeper than a half inch to maybe an inch and a half. Right now, there’s not enough moisture for germination,” said Myers.

Myers said at this point the lack of rain won’t have much of an effect but that will change if this pattern continues.

“Several weeks ahead of us, if we get rain, that’ll be fine. If we are going another month into this trend with people still planting and seeds in the ground laying a month, germination is going to go way down. What we like to see is 90 to 95 percent germination. It could go down to 40 to 50 percent and then that affects your yield in the fall,” Myers said.

Myers said irrigation isn’t really an option if things stay dry.

Unfortunately, it’s looking like this dry weather we are in is going to continue in the near future.