For East Idaho area farmers in the US, a spring that was dryer than normal is spelling trouble for them, especially potato farmers.
Tony Olenichak, the water master for Water District 1 in Idaho Falls said that due to a lower than average snow pack this year, he may have to cut the natural flowing water from the Snake River into area channels early, which farmers use to irrigate their crops.
”We’re talking about all the people who depend on farming and diverting surface water from the Snake River, Henry’s Fork or some of those other tributarie”,” Olenichak said.
Once the natural flow rights are cut, farmers will have to rely on water stored in reservoirs to irrigate their crops, which could affect hundreds of people.
According to localnews8.com, Olenichak expects grain crops to be able to survive, but he’s concerned for potato crops, which need more water towards the end of the irrigation season.
Wisconsin fruit and vegetable crop
Continued drought conditions in Wisconsin are also putting stress on the state’s fruit and vegetable crops there. The US Drought Monitor’s latest data shows 29 percent of the state is experiencing moderate drought conditions. Just over 5 percent of the state, in the southeast corner, is under severe drought.
According to eu.wisfarmer.com, some 48 percent of the rest of the state is under abnormally dry conditions, including in northwestern, north central and the Door County peninsula regions.
Amaya Atucha is a fruit crop specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension. She said the hot and dry conditions over the last few weeks have put stress on everything from strawberry plants to apple orchards.
Maine’s wild blueberry fields are home to one of the most important fruit crops in New England, but these were found to be warming at a faster rate than the rest of the state.
The warming of the blueberry fields could imperil the berries and the farmers who tend to them because the rising temperatures have brought loss of water, according to a group of scientists who are affiliated with the University of Maine.
Cumberlink.com reports on the scientists analyzing 40 years of data and found that the state experienced a 1.98 degrees Fahrenheit increase in average temperature, but the blueberry fields of Down East Maine experienced an increase of 2.34 degrees Fahrenheit.
That seemingly small difference is significant because rising temperatures could lead to water deficits that put the blueberries at risk.