Winter Half Done: Where Are The Snow Pack Levels At?


By Joey Martin

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) You may not think the winter months play a big role in agriculture here in southern Idaho.

But it’s quite the opposite.

The winter snow fall is what feeds the industry, supplying the water needed to grow the crops.

Joey martin for Idaho's First News takes a look at where we're are with this year's snow pack levels in this week’s segment of grow southern Idaho.

We're about half way through the winter season.

For farmers keeping track... It's been very dry.

"We’ve got pretty empty reservoirs and a snow pack level that down to about 90%."

With a need to be at more than 100 percent to make a successful growing season, will it take to reach that mark?

"We're really just probably one major storm behind. If we go through January and don't get a major storm then were two major storms behind and that gets really hard to make up in February, March and April."
Said Brian Olmstead, General Manager of the Twin Falls Canal Company.

If we fail to receive the precipitation needed, Brian Olmstead believes the growing season could be much like back in 2004.

"We were at what we call a half inch delivery for a good part of that summer. That doesn't destroy your crop but it defiantly hurts your yields some and it makes really good water management very critical.”
Said, Olmstead.

If farmers are reduced to only half inch water delivery. Or half a miners inch of water per acre of ground.

That would not only impact how many crops a framer could grow but would also determine what types of crops they can grow.

"For instance you can put your whole farm in corn if we are on a half inch. You better have a good part of your farm... I recommend at least half... in a short season crop, like a grain, wheat or barley crop."
Said, Olmstead.

But believe it or not... There is a good side to our water situation here in southern Idaho.

"The good news is we're better than any other place in the state. The Tetons have caught some of those storms that have come over the top and into Montana. So we've caught a few storms... the Boise, the Big Wood the Payette the Salmon Falls... those guys are 50% or less. So our 90 percent really looks pretty good to a lot of people."
Said, Olmstead.

So now it comes down to keeping a watchful eye on the sky and hoping for the rain and snow to fall.

If you are interested in water conservation and irrigation.

Next week in burley, the Idaho Irrigation Equipment Association is holding the annual Idaho Irrigation show.

That will take place January15th and 16th inside the Burley Best Western Inn.