After our first good look around Rogue Farms, we now know the damage caused by the December floods is more serious than we first realized.
As the floodwaters rushed in from the Willamette River, they made a mess of our corn, jalapeño and marionberry fields.
Large chunks of composting hops, weighing hundreds of pounds apiece, were pushed around as if they were as light as tennis balls.
Flood debris became entangled in our marionberries and pulled up some of the plants by their roots.
However, there was very little damage in our hopyard. The rhizomes are underground and unaffected by the floods. The cover crop of barley we planted to hold the soil in place did its job well.
Best of all, the floods brought in tons of brand new dirt. Normally, we’d expect a flood to deposit a thin layer of sediment. But this flood? In some spots the new soil is piled three inches deep! We’ll put it to good use.
Bottom line is this… we have a lot of cleaning up to do but our crops will be fine. We lost some of our marionberries and will replant those next spring. As for the jalapeños and corn, which look like they were run over by an army of tanks, we’d have to replant all those anyway.
We start the New Year counting our blessings. We often lose some of our malting barley crop in winter, and one year lost half of our field of rye. We’ve come back before from far bigger setbacks, and we’ll do it again in 2016. In just a few weeks, Mother Nature busted the drought at Rogue Farms and put us in a good position for the year.
Farming is all about risks. We happily accept the challenges of Mother Nature as we pursue our dreams of growing the ingredients for our beers, spirits, ciders and sodas in some of the richest farmland found on Earth. Dare, Risk, Dream.
Come by to Rogue Farms as we reopen this week and see for yourself the awesome power of Mother Nature.