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Drought means lower crop yields locally

Aug 19, 2022 2:01 pm

Melissa Manno reports for the Times Union how a lack of rain this summer has stunted this year's crops of vegetables. “Our biggest struggle right now is fruit size,” said Scott Seeberger of Windy Hill Orchard in Rensselaer County. “Being an older farm, we didn’t have the irrigation system that we would have liked, and we're probably two sizes down on fruit.” The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that most of the local area is in a moderate drought. Last month, for instance, was Albany County’s sixth driest July on record, with 1.82 inches of rain below normal, according to the federal National Integrated Drought Information System. “It’s disheartening, because you know that the crop is so damaged that it’s not going to recover,” said Jim Czub, who owns WestWind Ag in Rensselaer and Washington counties. “We haven’t seen a drought like this since the first year we bought this farm in 1983 — and this is significantly worse because of the timing." He expects to get 30 bushels an acre of corn this year, rather than the normal yield of about 170-175 bushels per acre. The timing is worse because costs for fertilizer and fuel are nearly double because of global inflation and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. “The peppers are shriveling up on the plants; the beans feel hollow,” said Tessie Gifford of her farm in Gansevoort. “Just this week, when I pick eggplant it mushes — it’s spongy in my hand.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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