Home ‘Farmers are nervous’: Summer drought conditions affecting crops throughout Virginia

‘Farmers are nervous’: Summer drought conditions affecting crops throughout Virginia

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Virginia farmers are concerned about the ongoing string of hot days with low humidity that will likely affect crops.

While summer drought conditions are not uncommon in some parts of Virginia, the abnormally dry conditions are impacting farmers statewide.

Temperatures are expected to reach highs in the upper 90s in coming weeks.

“We were getting rain, rain, rain every weekend. Then it just cut off,” said Danielle Bappert, regional crop agent for Virginia Farm Bureau Crop Insurance.

“The farmers I talk to are nervous, looking at their weather apps, with not a drop of rain in sight.”

Virginia’s wheat and hayfields are faring well despite the warmer temperatures.

“There was a very good first cutting of hay around the state, and some farmers have already gotten a good-quality second cutting,” said Robert Harper, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation grain division manager. “Everyone is telling me it’s their best hay crop in years, and it’s ideal for wheat to be dry when it’s cut. Last year it rained a lot during that time frame, which lowers quality. But for most farmers, corn and soybeans are the big money makers.”

For most crops, when water cuts off, the crops are under stress.

The lack of rain already has prevented some growers from planting soybeans after harvesting winter wheat.

“Farmers are telling me they are not planting them,” Harper said. “They are waiting for rain because they can’t hammer seed into ground that’s hard as a brick.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.