LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Some of Livingston County’s hardest workers are hurting badly in this summer’s drought.
For those who irrigate, or have natural springs on their property, the drought is a hiccup, even a boon. But just as the United States Drought Monitor updated Livingston County’s status from ‘moderate’ to ‘severe’ drought, some local growers are starting to consider this dry spell a real problem.
“It’s bad. The corn gets shriveled up like that and doesn’t grow as tall,” said David Deuel, looking at Google pictures of drought-blasted corn. “Ten years ago I had a dairy farm. Fans in the barn can cool the cows, but a few 90-degree days back to back and you have a real problem. The cows don’t like the heat any more than we do, and their milk productions just drops.”
Complicating matters, it seems that rainfall has been low but adequate in some areas, and completely absent for several weeks in others. An exceptionally dry stripe is scorched across Caledonia and York, both major farming communities.
“I was born in Jersey but spent most of my life here,” said Cecilia Deuel. “I’ve never seen it this bad. We do OK because we are so small and have a spring on our property, so we can get water to everything.”
“Perry, Perry Center, Geneseo, some places got an inch of rain,” added David Deuel. “We got a tenth of an inch. If you watched the radar, it rained up north in Rochester and it rained down south of us in Geneseo. But what about us?”
Other farmers are eking by on irrigation methods, but even this will lead to increased expenditures to move the water, which can dry out the farmers’ bottom line. Still, some consider the dry conditions an advantage.
“From a vegetable point of view, this weather is actually good because it keeps the weed growth down,” said Geneseo farmer Corrin Strong. “For those of us that grow organic and don’t use herbicides, weeds can be a real problem.”
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officially initiated a statewide drought watch on July 15.
There may be an end in sight for the drought, or at least some relief. Our news partner News10NBC reports a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms on Friday and a 40 ad 60 percent chance of storms on Sunday and Monday.