Valley farmers welcome rainstorms

Friday, March 16, 2018
Valley farmers welcome rain storms
The rain is much-needed, but too much could cause harm to crops.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Rain in the valley and snow in the Sierra from the last few weeks is adding to the water supply local farmers count on to grow their crops.

Light to moderate rainfall instead of heavy rain is actually a good thing for growers.

"Farmers are able to do some cultural things that help to preserve those blooms, but nevertheless it is a very important time when it comes to the generation of this upcoming year's crops," said Ryan Jacobsen of the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

This is the middle of harvest season for broccoli and citrus, which will continue through April.

But, the middle of March is the tail-end of blooming for trees that grow cherries.

"They don't like rain a lot," says Jacobsen. "They are a little more sensitive to it than some other crops but nevertheless, we are kind of waiting to see where these storms and what kind of effect it has on that crop."

Too much wet weather could also impact the peak of strawberry harvest next month.

"During the strawberry season if you have too much rain it is going to cause the fruit to rot," said Michael Yang of the UC Cooperative Extension Fresno County. "So during the full harvest, we don't want any rain."

Yang works with smaller growers in Fresno County. He says almost all of them rely on groundwater and wells to grow Asian specialty crops sold at farmer's markets.

That water supply will only grow if it rains. "When water flows there's food we can grow," said Yang. "So, if there's no water than what can we do?"