AUSTIN, Texas — As the threat of more showers looms over the next few days, farmers are bracing themselves.
- Heavy rains affecting Texas crops
- Brings issues like fungus, slower ripening times
- Milder temperatures also a concern
“It’s a love-hate relationship that all farmers have with extreme rain events,” Ryan Farnau of F-Stop Farm said.
More than half a dozen major storms have barreled through Central Texas leaving behind a mess.
“Lots of moisture means lots of fungal issues, it means mold and mildew, it means slower ripening times for tomatoes, nightshades, peppers, eggplants,” Farnau said.
But the milder temperatures also mean farmers have other headaches.
“Bugs, the things that really really damage our crops love wet cooler weather,” Farnau said.
One year ago this month, a dry and hot May meant good news for some crops.
“Last year at this time I was picking my first heirlooms in the second or third week of May. Now I’ve got a massive fruit set and nothing’s ripe yet,” says Farnau.
Too much rain doesn’t just wreck crops, but it also makes moving around a nightmare for farmers.
“They can’t make it to the market because the roads are flooded out. So it’s not only our farms being affected, but people can’t even make it to the market to be able to sell the produce that they can harvest because the rains are making it totally untenable,” Nora Chovanec of the Texas Farmers' Market at Mueller said.
The silver lining is that watering bills are low. The ultimate threat is rapid cycles of drought and floods, something many farmers say is becoming unsustainable.
“Not at this frequency or at this intensity,” Farnau said.
It's a cycle that Chovanec says could have cataclysmic consequences for some.
“When you work on the land and your entire livelihood comes from the land and we get unprecedented rain events your entire life gets thrown into chaos,” Farnau said.