Peter Goderie looked out at the field of dead canaan firs on his farm. The recently planted trees lay out in a field, barely a foot tall, with colors ranging from a yellow-green to an almost autumn red.
"I've lost about 50 percent of this year's trees," Goderie said.
Goderie's Tree Farm in Johnstown is just one of many local farms encountering the negative effects of an abnormally dry summer, which have been made worse by the warm winter that caused some plants to bloom early.
Jared Goderie waters some of the Fraser Fir trees at Goderie’s Tree Farm near Johnstown last week.
The Leader-Herald/Arthur Cleveland
According to a report Tuesday made by the U.S. Drought Monitor -droughtmonitor.unl.edu - 85.6 percent of New York state is considered abnormally dry. About a third of the state -33.3 percent - is in a moderate drought condition, including southern portions of Montgomery?County.
At the same time last year, only 36.2 percent of the state was considered abnormally dry, with no areas declared in drought condition.
New York Farm Bureau spokesman Steve Ammerman said the lack of rain for much of the summer has been hard on farmers.
"[July has] been a pretty difficult month for farmers," Ammerman said last week.
Ammerman said the local area is not seeing the intense crop damage that is appearing in the Midwest.
However, he said, local farmers could be hit.
"We could potentially see lower yields with the New York corn crop and the hay has been hurt dramatically by the dry weather and the heat," he said.
Ammerman said most farmers usually get two or three cuttings of hay in, but this year farmers will be lucky if they get two.
"It's just dried up in the field," Ammerman said.
Ammerman said there really is no way to repair the damage to crops.
He also said many farmers would have to pay for feed rather than serve hay to their cattle, adding another cost to farmers.
Many vegetable farmers have taken to irrigating their crops to try and avert more losses, costing time and money.
Goderie has taken to watering many of his younger and more delicate trees, his son and nephew getting water from nearby Skinners Brook.
Harold Bellinger Jr., owner of Bellinger Farms Inc. in Glen, said he has seen a smaller corn crop, and his dairy cows have has a 10 percent decrease in their milk production, blaming the heat and the lack of water in the pasture.
Ammerman said this drought will have affects reaching far past summer.
He predicts an increase in the cost of some dairy products, feed, and corn.
Goderie, whose Canaan and Fraser fir trees died, predicts those varieties will be hard to come by in a few years when the holidays roll around. However, this year's crops were unaffected.
Mark Rulison, part-owner of Rulison Honey Farm in Florida, has said this year can go either way for his business.
"Sometimes you could have a really good crop, so long you have enough moisture to keep the flowers so they're not actually dying," Rulison said.
Rulison said dry summers can be helpful for a honey farmer's crop.
"It can vary from area to area in the state," Rulison said. "... If you don't go into a full out drought, where plants are dying, it can be one of the best honey years. We've seen it in the past. It gives more forage time for the bees, more sunny days. When it's raining, the bees can't go out and get nectar from the flowers."
However, Rulison said other honey farmers across the state are reporting a lower production level due to the dry weather.
Rulison noted there is still time for his business to bring in a good crop.
"If we finish well, maybe we could call it a good year," he said.
Arthur Cleveland is the Montgomery County Reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com