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Drought’s Double-Edge Sword: Can It Put a Damper on Plant Disease?

Here is a reminder that drought is not all bad for farmers, from an article earlier this week in Growing Produce. While drought has many negative effects on crops, it also reduces a lot of diseases and also cuts down on the number of some pests that may be damaging the plants. Some farmers prefer dry conditions because of this (as long as they have enough irrigation to counter the dry spells). Some crops like grapes that are almost always irrigated prefer dry conditions because it concentrates the sugars in the berries and reduces the likelihood of fungal diseases. This year’s wet conditions also show that having more rain makes it much tougher to get fieldwork done both because of the timing of rain and the soggy soils in the fields.

A trio tractors rake, bale and collect straw at Scoggins Farm, a family farm on West Armuchee Road in South Walker County, Ga., on June 1, 2017. Plentiful rain so far this spring has fostered a far better growing season so far, local agriculture officials say. Photo by Ben Benton /Times Free Press.