First half of 2021 trends drier west of Richmond, hurting some crops

Farmers west of RVA battled dry weather for much of the spring
Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 9:54 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Spring and summer heat can quickly dry us out in Central Virginia. If you live west of Richmond, from West Henrico to Powhatan, you know your lawn and gardens need rain.

That’s especially true for farmers like Robert Buschbell who runs Ma and Pa’s farm in Nottoway County.

“It’s kind of hit and miss, it was okay early in the year, and then we had six weeks of dry where we didn’t get hardly anything up there,” said Buschbell.

Buschbell says they’ve received some rain recently, but it was too late for some crops.

“The dry weather in the spring hurt all the greens like lettuces and kales and stuff it just we couldn’t water it fast enough,” he said.

At Glascock Orchards in Prince Edward County, the dry weather means shelling out more money to water peaches and pears.

“Cost of fuel is very expensive to run the drip line system. You run it 8-10 hours a day it can get very expensive,” said Berryman Glascock.

The dry weather this spring resulted in most of Glascock’s Asian pears being smaller than usual. Usually, they would be about the size of a peach but were smaller this year.

“It stays in the 90s, you have to water your vegetables and fruits every day or every other day, and pasture just dries up very fast when it doesn’t rain,” explained Glascock.

2018 and 2020 were in the top 3 wettest years in RVA. But it has been a different story so far in 2021.

In Central Virginia, our biggest rainmakers in August and September are often tropical systems.

And this year is still expected to be an active Atlantic tropical season.

We don’t want any damage, but those storms or their remnants will hopefully bring some much-needed rain for Virginia’s late-season crops.

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