HARRISBURG, Ore. — After a dry January, farmers are breathing a sigh of relief this week because they are finally getting the rain the soils need.
Though some farm lands are seeing a bit of flooding, crop growers in the Willamette Valley are saying they are happy to see the rain.
Detering Orchards, a farm in Harrisburg, grows fruits and vegetables – crops that will benefit from the thirsty soils.
“Well over the past couple months when it was really dry, we were starting to get a little concerned that we weren’t going to get enough rain,” said Greig Detering, the owner of the Orchards. “Fruit trees do like to get moisture during the winter time.”
Detering says the dry spell wasn’t worrying him – yet.
“For us at this time of the season it wasn’t that big of a problem,” he said. “If it would have happened later on and it was still dry then it would have caused us a lot of concern.”
He says vegetable crops will be planted next month.
“It is good that we have the rain to get the soil all moist before we plant.”
He says the heavy rains could cause some issues if it comes after the seeds are planted.
“There’s definitely some flooding going on but it’s not too bad yet,” he said. “I mean we’ve had much worse many times before.”
Seed farmers at the Stalford Seed Farms in Tangent say they are seeing some flooding as well, but they aren’t concerned about the rain drowning the seeds yet. If anything, they say they are happy to see the rain.
Detering says the rain comes at a good time.
“We’d like to get as much moisture into the ground as possible and make sure we have enough ground water for when we pull water from the wells,” he said. “That’s the primary concern – that there’s plenty of water level when we need to pull from the wells.”
Winter is not over yet – and Detering says he hopes there won’t be any more freezes after the fruit trees start blossoming.
“For fruit your biggest problem and biggest crop loss happens when you get freezes in the spring time after the blossoms have come out,” he said.
Detering says too much rain later in the season could also cause fungal issues for the fruit.
“It’s good to get the moisture right now since we don’t have fruit on the trees,” Detering said.