The Pierik’s corn was damaged by hail last week. Photo submitted

Excessive rain last week tough on area farmers

The Pierik family’s crops were just one of the hard-hit farms during the storms last week.

Their farm, located about 10 minutes southwest of Ponoka just west of the Matejka overpass, was drenched with the persistent downpour and pelted with hail, damaging an estimated 30 to 40 per cent of their corn and flattening their barley.

The barley laying on the ground will make swathing harder.

“We definitely won’t get as much in because you just can’t get it off the ground,” said Karen Pierik.

The farm is multi-generational, and Karen and her husband Henk are in the process of beginning to transition operations from their parents.

“We’re really proud of the farm,” she said.

“Even though it can be stressful, it’s really rewarding and it’s great. “

The Pierik’s crops are insured, but crop flattening due to water isn’t covered.

Agriculture Financial Services` Corporation (AFSC) will only send out adjusters to assess crops after 10 days have passed since a storm, as crops can get better or worse in that time.

With a few more days of sun, the Pieriks have their fingers crossed that their crops might pick up again.

“We just don’t know.”

Without the right amount of moisture and heat, corn crops don’t reach their full potential and crops will yield a reduced amount of tonnage.

The Pieriks plant a special variety of corn that needs much less heat units than normal to grow, but despite that, their corn is coming up a bit short.

READ MORE: Wet conditions hampering haying efforts

In the submitted photo, five-year-old Alexander and four-year-old Henderson Pierik stand in the family’s corn field, which would typically be one to two feet taller if it had gotten more sun.

The hail wrecked the leaves on the corn, which they fear will stunt its growth and affect future cob development negatively.

“Farming can always be stressful, but overall we know last year was really hard across the board,” said Pierik.

With the drought last year, feed prices were up, and if farmers like the Pieriks can’t get enough off their crops this season, feed prices will continue to rise, she says.

The Pieriks also have a dairy operation and use some of their corn and barley combined with alfalfa silage to feed their animals.

Without enough silage volume to bulk up their feed, they’ll have to buy into commodities, such as hay, in larger volumes in order to have a good, healthy ration for their cows.

From the drought last year to the excessive rain this year, Pierik jokes that maybe someone was praying too hard one way last year and is now praying too hard the other way.

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The Pierik’s barley after the heavy rains last week. Photo submitted

This photo was taken in Ponoka County on July 19. Rain may help with moisture concerns but the wind and the wet combined have led to cereal crops lodging in the fields. This will cause farmers concern when it is time to harvest as the value of crops will be affected. Photo by Karen Douglass

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