Heat, lack of rain put crops at risk
BARRIE, ONT. -- A string of intensely hot days and rain is putting pressure on local farmers, and it could put you in a pinch at the grocery store.
Holland Marsh farmer Avia Eek says the warm days are pushing her onion and carrot crops to the brink.
"Plants they get stressed, our crops are stressed between lack of water and the heat," says Avia Eek.
Avia and husband Bill, have been working through the night irrigating their fields, hoping the crops don't flood or dry up.
But the damage has already been done. Where there are typically 16 carrots for every foot of soil, roots have dried out in some areas with just a handful remains.
Now that it's too late in the season to replant, their main concern is what they will have when it comes time to harvest.
"The crop has thinned out quite a bit carrot-wise," says Bill. "Even the onions we've had excessive blowing. Even when I was irrigating, that didn't help, but the crop was solid wet."
The third-generation farmer is now looking to Mother Nature for a little support.
"If it rained tomorrow and it was a nice rain, not just 20 minutes of heavy rain," says Bill. "If we got a two-inch rain all day, that would be awesome."
With no steady rain on the horizon, the Eeks are predicting a shortage, and it could affect your wallet.
"Now that I'm seeing what we're seeing because of the weather, not cooperating. Mother Nature's not the best business partner ever," says Avia. "I think we'll be seeing higher food prices."
Environment Canada Senior Climatologist Dave Phillips says the warm conditions aren't going away any time soon.
"There's no break, this is a relentless kind of heat bout," says Phillips.
"If it's not a heat spell or a heatwave, it is certainly a bout of warm, consistent, rather boring weather with no precipitation in sight."
The forecast is also putting pressure on crops at Hewitt's farm in Coldwater.
"It's definitely made a difference, everything's a little bit slower, it's a little bit drier, just a little bit more stressed," says Hewitt's Farm Owner Trevor Hewitt.
Between the polar vortex in May, the pandemic the dry heat and the demand, Hewitt says there's already a food shortage, and he doesn't expect that to change with his corn.
The farm is old-fashioned and doesn't irrigate it's fields, relying heavily on the rain.
"You're at the mercy of Mother Nature," says Hewitt.
"You put your crops in when you can and do what you're supposed to do along the way and hope for the best."
With luck, Hewitt believes his corn should be ready by the end of July, but without rain over the next three weeks, he could lose 25 to 50 percent of his crops.