Utah farmers concerned about crops amid drought conditions

Local News

FARMINGTON, Utah (News4Utah) – The relentless heat and direct sun impacts our local farmers and produce. Extreme heat can mean trouble for farmers and growers say irrigation is key, but water is tough to come by this year. 

“We are being careful about where we water because we want water next year,” Jack Wilbur, an urban farmer, said.

Wilbur has several farming plots throughout northern Utah and says the weather pattern has scorched crops like tomatoes and peppers, while cucumbers and zucchini faired well. 

“We have a few issues like that, where the fruits just aren’t as nice as they normally would be, and if you are eating them from your backyard, you cut out the sun scalded area and eat the rest of it, but you can’t sell that stuff,” Jack Wilbur, an urban farmer, said.

Sun scalding happens every year, and typically, farmers can combat that with a balance of water and shade, but even those elements are hard to find this summer. Wilbur says this year his farms are in good shape, but we still have two months of the growing season left and he hopes Mother Nature starts providing a little aid.  

“If we don’t have a good snowpack year next year, we are going to be in dire shape,” Jack Wilbur said.

In Farmington, strict water restrictions are already in place which now impact John Kooring’s apple orchard. There’s no watering allowed on the weekends or during the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

“You just have to take a day at a time, hopefully, we get better. We get the snow, we get the rain, if not, we try to make the best of it,” John Kooring, Farmington resident, said. 

Kooring’s fruit is established this season, but changing the water routine of 75-year-old trees can mean smaller fruit this year and in the future.

“I don’t think anything is going to change this season, everything is pretty well established. The fruit is established. They are getting enough water now, but next year there could be a bigger problem. We might not get as big as fruit and some of the trees might die off,” Kooring said. 

For more growing tips, go to http://www.ag.utah.gov/home/blog/532-get-growing-gardening-video-series.html.

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