Local growers have high hopes after recent rainy spell

The recent storms that soaked the Rogue Valley have some local farmers feeling more optimistic about the upcoming growing season after the year began with some of the driest weather ever recorded.

In all, the storms dropped nearly an inch of rain on the valley floor over the past week, a much-needed drenching after a parched start to the year.

"When everything is said and done by this weekend, we should have a good, healthy amount of rain for the area," said National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Ottenweller.

Mike Ivan, of Swallow Springs Farm in Wimer, said his property saw close to an inch of rain Thursday night. He has vegetables in the ground that are bound for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) deliveries.

"Considering how we started out the year, this rain is pushing things quite nicely," Ivan said.

Ivan said transplanting and germinating is going well in his fields and he feels confident about his crops heading into the summer months.

"We are looking at a good season right now," he said. "We're excited."

Meanwhile, the owners of Meyer Orchards in Talent said the dry weather these past few weeks has benefited their pears. They've done their spraying in dry weather, which makes the process more effective, said owner Ron Meyer.

"The dry weather hasn't harmed the crops in any way," Meyer said. "And with the recent rain, we are in very good shape."

Meyer said the snowpack levels, which remain above average, and the past week's storms have the outlook for irrigation water looking positive.

"We are going to have nice irrigation water this year," Meyer said.

The rainy weather is expected to continue throughout the weekend, with another half-inch possible for the Rogue Valley by Monday.

This weekend will seem like a typical Southern Oregon early spring, Ottenweller said.

"From January 1 to the end of March many places around the area were record dry, and many others were at the lowest 10 percent of rain of all time," he said.

Sunday could see the heaviest rain this year, along with 30 mph wind gusts, Ottenweller said.

"We should see some wind, but it won't be enough to cause any damage," he said.

The rain could taper off heading into next week, with partly sunny skies predicted for the Rogue Valley and temperatures hovering in the 60s during the day.

The next chance for wet weather could come next weekend, as a line of storms might move into the area by Friday or Saturday.

"All in all, this has been a benefit for the valley to have this rain," Ottenweller said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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