Nova Scotia

Annapolis Valley farmers coping with extremely dry conditions

Farmers in the Annapolis Valley dealing with extreme dry conditions are scrambling to get water on struggling crops.

Only 23 mm of rain fell at CFB Greenwood in June, the lowest total for that month since 1946

Josh Oulton, owner and operator of TapRoot Farms, says the driest part of summer has still yet to come. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Farmers in the Annapolis Valley are battling against Mother Nature.

In Kings County, the month of June saw the lowest recorded rainfall in 70 years. That means getting water on crops is a high priority.

"We've gone from dry to really dry in the last week and we've had a lot of strong winds," said Josh Oulton, owner and operator of TapRoot Farms. "Evaporation has increased."

Oulton's work crews have been busy moving from field to field laying down irrigation pipes.

Fields and orchards in Kings County are bone dry and some crops have already been lost due to the dry conditions.

"All the stuff that we planted early, like early peas, early beans, early corn, all those lovely items that we look forward to, to get us out of the winter blues, are showing real stresses from a lack of water," said Oulton.

"We are desperately trying to get those crops filled out and plump like we're used to seeing."

'Rain would be ideal'

The first few days of July have been windy and dry, and in June only 23 millimetres of rain fell at CFB Greenwood.

That's the lowest June total since 1946 and only 29 per cent of what normally falls in the month of June in the area.

"Rain would be ideal and not just a little rain. We're talking we need a good four days of 10 to 20 millimetres a day to kind of get us back into a nice spot," said Oulton.

The biggest worry now is maintaining a water supply if the dry weather continues. The more water that gets pumped on to fields means irrigation ponds could dry up.

And Oulton says what is normally the driest part of the summer has yet to come.

These charts shows the 10 driest Junes on record for Greenwood and Yarmouth. (Kalin Mitchell/CBC)