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Excessive Rain Bad for Virginia Farmers

Too much wet weather harms crops, animals, equipment and more

June 22, 2018 - 12:58 pm

(RICHMOND, Va. - wrva.com) - Parts of Virginia have received more than two months’ worth of rain in just two weeks, and that's hurting many of the Commonwealth's farmers, including here in Central Virgnia.

Agriculture is the number one private industry in Virginia, says Elaine Lidholm of the Virginia Department of Ag. Lost crops means lost money.  

Too much rain for too long can be devastating to an agricultural operation, Lidholm says. Too much rain, especially if it stays around, can rot berries or vegetables on the vine. Excessive rain at planting or harvest time can saturate the ground, making it too wet to get into the fields.

Farm equipment is heavy, often with big tires, and it can tear up wet fields. It can take days for field to dry out enough to support the equipment.

Wine grapes and other plants are very susceptible to fungi, which like wet weather. Plant roots need water and food, but they also need air. Standing water can drown plants, especially young ones. Rain on cotton can destroy its quality, reducing its value as a crop.

Even animal agriculture feels the effects of excessive rain. It can destroy hay or greatly reduce its yield. Extremely wet fields can keep animals from grazing efficiently. Parasites thrive in the wet weather, causing problems from disease to loss of quality. In horses and cattle, excessively wet conditions and flooding can cause foot rot.