Storms come as relief for Valley farmers dealing with drought conditions

Dale Yurong Image
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Storms come as relief for Valley farmers dealing with drought
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The storm came as welcome relief to Valley farmers who have been dealing with drought conditions and a reduced irrigation supply.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The green beans growing on this Clovis farm were ready to be picked. But now crews will have to wait a few days until the muddy rows dry up.

"This will be machine-picked," says David Sarabian. "Hopefully, we can get the machines in with some sunny weather by Thursday or Friday of this week."

Sarabian says most of the green beans should be fine as drier conditions settle in but there will be some crop loss.

"We'll still get some damage from the beans that are actually in the dirt or on the water," he said. "Mold will show up but that's just part of the business."

The slow, steady rain that soaked his farm was more manageable than the windy storm he watched whip through the bay area on Sunday.

"It's very promising to have water this early in the season," he said. "Hopefully, it will continue, recharge our water basin and get the water table up to where it used to be.

On the Fresno State campus farm, 108 acres of winter wheat were planted early in anticipation of the storm.

Orchard Manager Rob Willmott says the rain will now help sprout the crop.

"How the rain falls naturally usually is way better than having to irrigate your wheat," he said. "Then, you're pushing the water over the soil surface as opposed to it just falling naturally and closing the ground up."

The storm also soaked orchards. The soil is now damp enough to easily disc in between rows without sending dust into the air.

"We're planting all of our acreages with cover crops to add to soil sustainability," Willmott said. "We want to increase as much organic matter in the field as possible."

Cover crops like radish will be planted in between the pistachio trees.