Valley Farmers Scramble to Protect Crops from Rain

October 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Threatening clouds have Valley farmers scrambling to protect their crops from rain and water damage. After three years of drought farmers will take all the rain they can get. But at this time of year rain does pose problems for several crops.Almond harvesters barreled through Valley orchards in a cloud of dust. Some of the local almond crop is still on the ground, having been shaken off trees and swept into windrows. Nervous growers say a good soaking during a storm can ruin the crop.

Tim Samarin said, "Moisture. Trying to get them dry. The weather is changing and if it doesn't get dryer, if it's in the windrow and you start getting some mold, you try to avoid that."

Samarin wants to make sure his almonds stay crunchy and dry so the nuts are quickly being harvested and then shipped off to be hulled and processed.

"We're going full-blast on the west side also. I think everyone here is trying to get them in as quickly as possible so they can avoid any kind of drying costs if they have to pick them up and dry them," said Samarin.

Crews were also busy in Valley vineyards. Dry-on-the-vine raisins were being harvested mechanically to protect them from mold and mildew damage. Raisins laid out to dry have been rolled up. This race against time is one growers can't afford to lose.

Some table grape growers are also putting tarps over their vines to guard against mold.

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