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Unusually Wet Week in Yuma County Could Raise Produce Prices

Maya Springhawk Robnett
Arizona Science Desk; KAWC
Yuma Agricultural Fields

It has been an unusually wet winter thus far for the sunniest city in the world and meteorologists predict the trend will continue.  The recent rainfall in Yuma County is causing problems for local farmers.  Maya Springhawk Robnett of the Arizona Science Desk reports.

"Everything's well planned-out until it rains."

The week before Christmas saw more than half an inch of rain in a single night in Yuma County.

As Paul Brierley, the Executive Director of the Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture, stands across from a field of lettuce, he says rain isn’t as welcomed by Yuma farmers as one might think.

“In Yuma, one of our advantages is we control our inputs.  So, we control when we water, we control when we plant, when we harvest.  So rain messes that up," Brierley says. "Everything’s well planned-out until it rains.”

Tractors can get stuck in the mud and, if harvesters walk the fields, the foot traffic can compact the soil and make it harder to plant uniformly the next year.  Weeds, mildew and other diseases, and some pests thrive in moist weather. 

Brierley says the early harvest of some crops could have an economic impact.  The supply in months to come won’t be as abundant as in years past because crops were harvested earlier, which in turn could cause a minor rise in the price of produce across the nation.