Farmers prepare for another heat wave, fear what extreme conditions mean for crops

Farmers prepare for another heat wave, fear what extreme conditions mean for crops

The impending heat wave is a cause for concern for farmers in the region who are watering their crops as much as they can to protect them from the scorching temperatures.

Terry Michell of Michell’s Farm said he’s never had to irrigate as much as he has this summer and expects a ballooned water bill as a result.

“We’re using more water than we’ve ever used before in the last three months. Actually almost the last four months, we’ve never used the amount of moisture and irrigation that we’ve had to apply ourselves. Never seen it before like this,” he said.

Some crops are now “bone dry” despite being watered just days ago.

Another farmer, Rob Galey of Galey Farms, said the reoccurring heat waves are exhausting to deal with.

“It’s just day after day continuously hot, working outside. The last heat wave, even the foreign workers that come from much hotter climates, by noon, one o’clock, we’re sending people home. We don’t want people getting sick,” he said.

‘We just go earlier and earlier in the morning. And by tomorrow, once again, we’re not going to be able to stay out here late in the afternoon if it starts getting into the mid-30s,” he added.

Galey said it’s taken nearly a month to recover his berries, which are now ready to be picked weeks before due.

“The plants get so stressed out under those conditions, they just wouldn’t make flowers,” he explained.

Galey said he fears the extreme heat will be followed by extreme rain.

“We’re probably going to have look at getting into more drainage because what’s going to happen to get our crops off in the fall when all this heat stops and we start getting unprecedented rainfall again,” he said.

The provincial and federal governments are promising financial support for farmers across B.C. impacted by this season’s extreme conditions, but in the meantime, farmers have said their greatest fear is that the extreme heat will be our new normal.

Tahmina AzizTahmina Aziz

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