Rain concerns some Valley farmers

Farmers and others in the Ag community want the rain, but the time period in which it's falling is crucial.
February 28, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Farmers and others in the Ag community are certainly keeping a close eye on the weather. They want the rain, but the time period in which it's falling is crucial.

It's been an odd year. What looks and feels like an early spring has confused our agriculture and forced an early bloom, which means harsh weather has the potential of ruining almond blossoms.

"If they don't get pollinated within three days, those blossoms are lost," said Paul Betancourt, a farmer.

The problem is that the bees don't fly when it's windy and rainy, and that's not the only concern.

"The moisture in the blossoms can cause fungus, so we have to spray fungicide, so you're seeing sprayers out these last few days," said Betancourt.

One big storm is actually great for almonds; what's not so great is when it rains every two to three days. Betancourt says he's worried about the future of these odd weather patterns.

"March has plenty of bad weather in it, and so we could turn around and have a hard freeze in two weeks -- that would be devastating. We want more rain, but as long as it's spaced out that works really well for us," said Betancourt.

The Fresno County Farm Bureau is worried most about wind. While it does a great job of cleaning out our air, it has the potential to blow out more than just pollution.

"It just blows the blossom off, and it mostly focuses on blowing the petals off. Obviously you blow the petals off, the opportunity for that fruit to be able to set in everything is compromised at that point," said Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

Jacobsen is afraid the bees will come back to vacant blossoms, but it's a risk they're all trading in for water.


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