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Treasure Valley farmers happy with ‘Goldilocks’weather

Farmers in the Treasure Valley area of southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon say weather conditions this spring have been almost ideal and they are reporting good plant growth.
Sean Ellis

Capital Press

Published on June 6, 2014 11:36AM

The Treasure Valley’s Goldilocks weather this spring — not too hot, not too cold — has created favorable growing conditions and farmers in this area are reporting good plant growth.

“Knock on wood, it’s been a pretty decent year so far,” said Jon Fabricius, who manages Hamanishi Farms, which grows mint, alfalfa, beans and onions near Fruitland, Idaho. “Everything looks pretty good right now.”

Farmers in the Treasure Valley area, which encompasses much of southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon, say their crops are off to a good start and there haven’t been any major weather-related issues.

“Overall, it’s been a pretty good weather cycle this spring up to now,” said Paul Skeen, who grows several crops south of Nyssa on the Oregon side. “Mother Nature has been kind to us this year up to now.”

Meridian, Idaho, farmer Drew Eggers, who grows wheat, mint and silage corn, said he’s pleased with the way his crops look at this point in the season.

“We had some timely rains in the spring and now we’re getting good temperatures for the crop to start growing,” he said.

There have been a few storms this season but they weren’t big enough to cause much damage, said Ron Mio, who grows wheat, mint and seed beans near Fruitland.

“We haven’t had any big storms … and we’re looking pretty good right now,” he said.

Jerry Neufeld, University of Idaho’s extension educator in Canyon County, said that even the first cutting of hay was accomplished for the most part without rain delays. “I think most of the first cutting of hay got up without getting rained on, which doesn’t happen a lot around here.”

Farmers said one of the biggest issues this spring has been consistent winds, but even those haven’t been bad enough to significantly delay farm work.

“There were some days we couldn’t spray because of the winds but they were followed by two to three days of good weather (so) we weren’t really delayed on spraying over past years,” Fabricius said. “The weather for the most part has been favorable.”

The major concern for now is a looming water shortage on the Oregon side.

Many farmers who get their irrigation water from the Owyhee Irrigation District will receive much less water than normal this year. How much less is an unwelcome question mark at this point.

“Overall, things are looking pretty good (but) there’s still the concern about the water,” said Stuart Reitz, an Oregon State University cropping systems extension agent in Malheur County.

Growers on both sides of the border, but particularly in Oregon, said timely spring rains helped significantly.

Skeen said the rains and favorable weather have helped his onions, seed peas, beans and sweet corn seed quite a bit. “The wheat looks as good as it’s ever looked because of the timely rains (and) it’s been almost the perfect weather for seed peas this year.”


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