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Local farms sing 'rain, rain, go away'

A warmer and drier than average June has been followed by a wet and soggy start to July
Stock photo

It's great for the grass, not so stellar for the local crops.

Waterloo Region has seen a lot of rainfall recently with more still in the forecast.

"The rain has been too plentiful for many of the crops," said Michelle Herrle, human resources and communications director, Herrle's Country Farm Market.

"The soil's wet, it's waterlogged, and the organisms that keep soil healthy don't like waterlogged soil," adds Jenn Pfenning, director of human resources and marketing at Pfenning's Organic Vegetable Inc.

And that means farmers are expecting to see disease pressures grow over the coming weeks.

"I would say that the abundance of rain that we've had has definitely caused there to be more spoilage in the fruit," said Herrle.

"So strawberries, for example, are a crop that do not like it wet," Herrle said. "But other crops, like sweet corn, as long as they are in a well-drained soil base, they love it wet."

So it can be hit or miss and largely dependent on what's growing at the time and local farms say, in the end, there's not much to be done about it.

"We work with what we're given because we can't turn the faucets on an off unless it's a drought where we can irrigate," said Herrle. 

"We can irrigate when it's too dry," said Pfenning. "But, you know, we can't make the sun shine."

"We certainly would prefer to see a little more sun going forward."

The good news is Environment Canada says it does expect the month of July, overall, to be average. Which means at least some predictability.

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