Grain and vegetable farmers are feeling the effects of the drought

STAFFORD, N.Y. (WIVB) – Many farmers are struggling because of the drought. Without the rain, their crops aren’t able to grow.

Donn Branton, the owner of Branton Farms in Stafford says the hot, dry weather is really damaging his crops.

He could lose up to 60 percent of his feed corn for animals and 40 percent of his vegetables.

“It certainly hurts. To look at what should be the fruits of your labor and see them suffering so bad. But there’s nothing we can really do,” Branton said. “It’s disheartening to see a crop wither.”

Right now, the crops on Branton’s farm are still growing. If parts of Western New York get a good soaking rain, it could turn things around.

“We need about 2 inches of rain, every week, for 3 or 4 weeks after it starts pollinating. Well into August. We’ll see. Hopefully later this week, we’ll get some good showers,” David DeGolyer, Executive Crop Consultant, Western New York Crop Management said.

If feed corn doesn’t grow ears, Branton has two backup plans. He will either sell the whole corn plant to dairy farmers or sell a drought crop, Sorghum-sudangrass.

“It’s probably one of the most drought tolerant crops we can grow in this area. It’s a member of the grass family. The same as corn is, but when they harvest this it will make a nutritious feed for the animals when they chop it, put it in the pile, and let it ferment,” Branton said.

Farmers are also concerned about low prices for feed corn. “The Midwest is having a great year. The prices have come down,” DeGolyer said. “They really set the price of what we feel in the markets here.”

Less yield and lower prices at the market are a double hit to farmers. That’s why Branton and others are hoping things turn around.

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