North Valley farmers protect crops from recent storms

Vince Ybarra Image
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
North Valley farmers protect crop from storm
The thunderstorms that soaked parts of the Valley over the past few days are causing concerns for some local growers.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The thunderstorms that soaked parts of the Valley over the past few days are causing concerns for some local growers.

The wet weather this time of year raises the risk of mold and other damage to certain crops.

"The weather this year has been really unusual. I mean, a hurricane in the middle of August?" said Professor Bob Geyer from Merced College.

After a wet weekend caused by what was once Hurricane Hilary, more rain hit the North Valley on Monday.

Geyer said a major storm could have been catastrophic.

"We were very lucky here in the valley. Particularly watching the radar on a daily basis and seeing that we were just on the edge. So, our guys here in the valley are really fortunate," said Geyer.

Craig Arnold is the co-owner of Arnold Farm in Atwater. He was nervous about the storm system before it ever arrived.

"Once, we were pretty certain we were going to get some water. Our big concern is the peaches, which are getting pretty close to ripeness. If they're left unprotected, we have a big risk of brown rot," said Arnold.

That's why the company paid thousands of dollars to hire a helicopter - seen here on Saturday. It released fungicide on some thousand acres at Arnold Farms to protect the summer crop of peaches. The crew also put up sticks to hold trees in place as the rain and wind whipped through the area.

Several growers said this year's eventful weather so far has delayed some of their work. And they are hoping they get through the rest of the year comfortably.

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