Farmers avoid crop loss in dry weather

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PLARIDEL, Bulacan: Local farmers avoid planting crops to lessen the impact of the dry season.

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Evaresto Magsakay, a 69-year old farmer from Plaridel, said he decided not to plant crops in the months of April and May because of the usual low water level in the irrigation canal.

“During the dry season, irrigation [canal]here is almost dried up because of the weather and we can’t plant rice if we don’t have water,” Magsakay told The Manila Times.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA, the water level of Angat Dam yesterday is lower by 0.24 meters compared to last Friday’s measurement.

If the downward trend continues, the dam would reach its critical level by Tuesday or Wednesday next week. This would result in the cut-off of water service for farms in the Bulacan and Pampanga.

As of May 23, the water level in Angat Dam was at 180.71 meters, or less than a meter before its reach its 180-meter critical level.

Magsakay said their planting season starts in late June or July when the water supply is abundant. They then harvest the crops by October. The next season is usually scheduled on December.

During the dry season, few farmers plant crops while water level is low, Magsakay said.

“If there’s no rain or when the irrigation supply is low, there is (a) chance that you will lose your crop due to (the) heat,” he added.

The dam reached its critical level in May last year and PAGASA officials said only a typhoon could bring its water level to its normal high water level of 212 meters.

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