PEI

P.E.I. grain, potato growers at 'mercy of Mother Nature' as they brace for heavy rainfall

Heavy rain expected with post-tropical storm Erin has the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture keeping a close eye on crops overnight. 

'Sometimes she works for you and sometimes she doesn't'

Heavy rain is expected for P.E.I. overnight, which could damage grain and potato crops on the Island. (Brian McInnis)

Heavy rain expected with post-tropical storm Erin has the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture keeping a close eye on crops overnight.

While producers have been itching for rain following a period of dry and windy weather, a large amount of rain could result in damaged crops across the Island, said Robert Godfrey, executive director of the federation. 

"We're obviously glad to see rain coming it's just a question of how intense it falls," he said. 

Some of the crops were planted late and will grow right into October, Godfrey said. 

Grain crops

The danger for damage to grain crops in particular, is a concern.

"The head of grain right now is full so there's a potential that they'll fall, they'll flatten," Godfrey said.

"[When] you're driving in the countryside you might see patches of a grain field that look like they've fallen down. An intense rainfall can do that, which obviously would affect yield."

Robert Godfrey, executive director of the federation, says the dry conditions this summer have made farmers' fields 'cement-like.' (Laura Meader/CBC)

As for the Island's potato crops, Godfrey said, they need more rain but as with grain crops — not all at once. 

"Farmers prefer a nice long, steady rain. It allows for absorption, the ground is really active right now, we've had a long period of dry windy weather, so the ground was  ... cement-like," he said. 

But even as farmers watch over the crops this evening and overnight, there isn't a great deal they can do to protect their crops from the storm, Godfrey said.  

"It's just like everything in agriculture, you're at the mercy of Mother Nature and sometimes she works for you and sometimes she doesn't," he said. 

More P.E.I. news 

With files from Angela Walker

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