Farmers deal with drought conditions and now too much rain

Local farmers once dealt with drought, now have too much rain on their hands

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- "I'm fourth generation and my son runs it now, so we've been here a long time," Bucky Sykes nodded. His family has Sykes and Cooper Farms in Elkton in St. Johns County. He grows corn and other veggies.

Inspecting his corn plants, he said, "It's pretty, but two weeks ago, I wouldn't give you ten cents for it. It really came out with the rain."

This spring and early summer, the dry weather left his crops parched and nearly dead.

"It was actually getting fertilizer burn because it was so dry," Sykes explained. "The fertilizer was there and it was so hot."

However, the skies opened up, the rain came, and the plants are showing off now.

"It made a pretty good crop now," Sykes noted.

The current problem: There has been too much rain. Sykes said, this time of year one inch of rain a week is good. However, in the last couple of weeks, much more has fallen.

"One afternoon we got 5 1/4 inches," and he remembered another day where, "we got 2.5 inches. We've been getting 1 inch to 2 inches everyday," he said.

There's been so much rain, it's filling the drainage ditches, and it's not draining out because the ground is saturated.

"You want moisture, but we don't need standing water," Sykes noted.

Standing water around the crops can essentially scald -- or cook -- the plants.

"When you get the sun coming out and it's hot and you've got water in the ground, then they start to scald," he said. "It'll cause the plants to die."

Sykes added that he's not the only farmer dealing with too much water.

"There are other farmers," he said. "Some guys are still trying to get potatoes out. It's been real bad on them. They're catching heck right now."

Sykes is just thankful his crops have made a comeback from the dry spell, but says there needs to be a time out from the torrent.

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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