Local farmers say the moderate drought is helping the harvest

Our current dry pattern has put much of Lucas County in a moderate drought. And some farmers say it’s helping them with the harvest, but it may hurt future crops.
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 5:51 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CURTICE, Ohio (WTVG) - The last time Toledo saw more than a tenth of an inch of rain in a day was more than a month ago, on September 20. And for the entire month of October so far, just a quarter of an inch of rain has been recorded at Toledo Express Airport.

The dry ground is allowing farmers to get out into the fields, but we’re not done growing entirely. So, some farmers are still hoping for rain right now.

“It’s been a great growing season this year,” said Cindy Bench, co-owner of Bench Farms in Curtice. “We’ve had timely rains.”

But now, the rain’s all but stopped. And it’s a welcomed trend over last year’s rains.

“It’s been a great time to get the crops out of the field. Compared to last year, we were stuck and couldn’t get into the field. We were after Thanksgiving last year; some guys were doing it even in January. So, this is a blessing for all the farmers,” said Bench.

The same applies to all local farmers, who are harvesting. In fact, some are ahead of schedule.

“Most farmers want to see themselves totally cleaned up by Thanksgiving,” Bench told 13abc. “So, we have a month. I think most guys are feeling pretty good.”

But others, like Bench’s son, are still growing some crops.

Bench said her son is still in need of rain.

“He’s irrigating his late broccolis and cabbages and carrots and things like that. For those farmers who are still technically busy farming in the field and have things developing, they need the water,” she said.

But others are putting in their cover crops, which is common in northwest Ohio fields because of the H-2-Ohio program, which protects Lake Erie.

“They do some late-fall crops, so he’s actually out there irrigating at the end of October. We’ve put all of the irrigation equipment away, and dragged it back out again because he’s an organic farmer and has to put cover crops down. He couldn’t get the cover crops out of the ground, so he had to irrigate the cover crops.”

Irrigation is the best defense against a drought like this. But you don’t have to be a farmer for the dry ground to affect you.

“For you home gardeners, it’s really important to remember your perennials, your shrubs, and your trees are very dry. Soak them down good at least once a week, so you get a couple of inches of water on them. Otherwise, you’re going to go into the winter in tough shape, and they might not survive,” Bench said.

Wednesday’s rain chance will likely change this, but right now, Toledo is on track to record its driest October ever. That’s a record that was set in 2005 with a little more than a quarter of an inch of rain. Before that? We haven’t seen an October close to being this dry since the 1960s.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.