Dry Weather Hurting Local Farms
Southern Tier (WENY) -- The recent hot and dry weather in the Twin Tiers is stunting corn growth. In the past month, farmers have only seen half the normal amount of rainfall they usually do this time of year.
Corn needs at least one inch of rain per week during this crucial growth period. The crop is not only used for wholesale, but to feed cows on local dairy farms as well.
"If the corn crop is a total failure, we'll be shopping out of this area to see if we can find some grains or some corns to feed the cows because we're running short on food," said Scott Bush, owner of Sco-Li Dairy Farm.
Buying corn for cows to eat is twice as expensive as growing your own, and could run farmers up to $50,000. The lack of rain is also stressing other crops like hay, pumpkins and strawberries.
Mike Smith says he's been hand watering some of his crops every day.
"If we don't get a crop this year, I don't spend money for fertilizer, next year I won't have money, I'll have to take out loans, and I'll have to repay them," Smith said. "It's a tough economy, and it will really hurt the farmers."
Farmers are dealing with unfortunate conditions, but holding on to hope.
"It's been a tough season so far," Bush said. "It's been tough. It's gotta get better."
On top of the dry weather, farmers in the Finger Lakes are also battling army worms. The caterpillar-like insects can destroy fields of crops if not fought off right away with chemical treatment.