From the Fields - Chris Capaul

Chris Capaul

By Chris Capaul, Sutter County farmer


We had only half our baby limas cut before it rained. Then we had to wait two weeks or more to let the ground dry. I also have peruano beans. We grow some of those for our local market. We just finished those a few days ago.

This was a very tough year, maybe one of my toughest. I felt I worked harder, more constant with no breaks. The bean crop is down 30% in yields because of the drought and the hot summer. They just didn’t do well. We didn’t have any deep moisture. The ones I sprinkled did better. There was no water in any of the ditches. Some of my ground got zero water, and the rest got 18%, which is really nothing.

Instead of 600 acres of rice, I did 75. I put some of that ground into beans. Overall, the rice did well. I don’t know what the quality of the beans is yet, but a lot of them were undersized. I think that’s from the heat. To cover the rice in water was expensive. I had to run two wells. In reality, I had four water sources trying to keep 75 acres flooded. In looking back, it probably wasn’t good to do, but it was a seed contract, and I was the only one growing that variety. I don’t want to lose that connection and that contract, so I worked especially hard to supply that contract.

I think I’m going to be one of the last ones growing beans. In my area there’s four of us, and I was the only one that increased my acreage this year. The amount grown last year was half of the prior year. This year, it’s even less. The bean market has dwindled. The price is not good enough compared to tomatoes. That’s where the money is. A lot of farmers are doing that instead of growing beans and other crops.

Permission for use is granted. However, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation