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Recent rainfall brings concern for local orchard

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- Despite its many benefits, the rainy weather has some farmers concerned about disease affecting their produce.

"We've been fortunate to have a lot of rainfall this year. Sometimes in years, it's been quite dry, and we would've given anything for a nice shower."

Co-owner of Lipe Orchards, Sara Lipe, is grateful for the rain this year, but it has her worrying about crop disease.

"The downside can be that the produce can get diseases. It's hard to keep fungicides on, and so funguses that like fruits and vegetables have a great time here because it's so wet and warm."

Her orchard has been largely unaffected, but she's afraid the rain will keep her from taking any preventative measures.

"I haven't noticed any diseases showing up yet, in any quantity. It's normal to have a little here and there. I'm concerned though, because it's not possible to keep any kind of fungicides on, that those funguses are going to have an opportunity to take hold."

The rain can also physically damage some of the more vulnerable fruits.

"Sometimes when the cold rain hits the hot produce though, when it's ripe, it'll split open. That happens with tomatoes and peaches. I've noticed that as well."

Lipe says she's also still seeing the impact of a late frost on her peaches but says her apples are thriving.

John Ross

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