California Growers Bracing for Major Rain Event This Week

Brian German Agri-Business, Water

After intermittent rainfall over the weekend, growers are preparing for a major rain event to come through California this week. The National Weather Service has issued multiple winter storm warnings for several areas of the state. Chris Sayer from Petty Ranch in Ventura County said they are expecting a significant amount of rainfall this week.

“This will be the big one. We’re looking at almost certainly at least three inches and possibly as much as five Wednesday and Thursday of this week,” Sayer explained. “Some years that’s been a whole years’ worth of rain, so this will be a lot in a short period of time.”

While the state needs the precipitation, there have been concerns about so much rain forecasted in such a short amount of time. Conditions have been so dry up to this point that many producers neglected to put in a cover crop this year. Sayer explained they won’t have the normal filter strip they usually do to keep rain events from washing sediments out of the orchards.

“Usually, we get that started in late fall and by this time of year we’d have six to 10 inches worth of usually some type of grain,” said Sayer. “Unfortunately, with such a dry fall we didn’t really get that started so one of our favorite defenses is not going to be with us this week.”

Sayer grows lemons and avocados about 10 miles inland from the coast. Despite the lack of a filter strip for this year, Sayer said a major rain event is welcome news after such a dry start to the season. “We’ll always take it. If it’s a little too much, better than not enough. Ultimately, it’s all headed to the aquifer and if it’s too much for us in one day we’ll get back at it this summer,” Sayer noted.

Listen to the interview below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West