SALISBURY, Md.- It is the worst drought in 50 years and farmers are paying a hefty price. On Delmarva, the dry, hot weather means crops are suffering and farmers wallets are really taking a beating, too.
Keeping crops hydrated is key to a successful harvest. Drought conditions mean irrigation systems are working overtime and bills are adding up.
It is a familiar sight at farms up and down the Peninsula: thirsty crops being sprayed with much needed water, as irrigation systems pick up Mother Nature's slack.
"We've got some timely rains but we're not getting enough rain," noted Zeke Collins of Collins Farms. "Corn, at this stage, needs about a quarter inch of rain a day to fill the ear out."
Collins relies on both fuel and electricity to keep his machines going at his farm in Salisbury.
While keeping his corn crops hydrated may not be cheap, he says it comes with the territory.
"Whether it's rain or not rain, it's our livelihood to run that machine," he explained.
At S&H Farms in Hebron, Ralph Harcum said he is really feeling the pinch.
"This is the third year that we've had drought in this county, in Wicomico County, so we're really all impacted tremendously."
Harcum said all those extra expenses are adding up.
"When you're running irrigation 24/7, I know I use probably $600 to $700 worth of fuel a day and some of your larger operations probably use 2,000 or more a day in dollars and fuel, so it's very costly," he told WBOC.
Now, all these farmers can do is hope for relief.
"We're just hoping, praying for rain, so we don't have to irrigate anymore," Harcum said.
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