CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) – Comparing climate normals for the past two decades, the central and eastern parts of the Commonwealth have experienced a 7-10% increase in annual precipitation.
While more rainfall can produce more productive crops, these wetter conditions also make it more difficult for farmers to get out and manage their fields, leading to disease and insect problems.
“We planted early beans this year and ended up replanting almost 900 acres of beans, which was mainly due to the slugs,” said Brennan Gilkison, Clark County farmer.
And according to experts at the University of Kentucky, some of these problems have only worsened in recent years.
“I’ve been here for 19 years now, we’ve had slug damage somewhere on the scene every year, for the past three years we’ve had slug damage overall, not just in the state, but in the region, ”Chad Lee said. , Director of the Center of Excellence for Grains and Forages in the UK.
While farmers can only replant where slugs have damaged crops, many are starting to reduce tillage and introduce off-season cover crops to control the problem of erosion as the strong rains become more common.
“The fields that don’t have a cover crop or some sort of heavy residue, even though they are no-till, have suffered some erosion and we’ve never seen that before, so even the big planting stage. direct is ‘not enough with the precipitation that we are getting now,’ Lee said.
Another way that farmers are fighting climate change is with genetically modified organisms or GMOs for short, which help farmers be more successful and do not affect humans or animals.
“Using the GMO harvest is like using a smart phone to send a text message versus an old flip phone, they both can do it, but GMOs make it much, much easier,” Lee said.
And while excessive precipitation is causing problems now, the slow rise in average temperatures will also become a problem over time.
“It’s more respiration, it’s more water loss in the crop, which means we need more water to grow the crop. So this combination will be a concern for us on the road, ”said Lee.
According to Lee and Gilkison, while this year’s harvests have been going well so far, these next three weeks will be crucial for how their yields turn out after the harvest.
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