Salute to Idaho Agriculture: how the drought situation impacts farmers decisions on which crops to plant
As it stands right now, most of Idaho is in a severe or moderate drought, according to the U.S. drought monitor.
BUHL, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Rick Pearson has been farming in the Buhl area almost his whole life.
“A variety of crops, corn, alfalfa, and then a grain crop, either wheat or triticale for seed,” said Pearson a farmer in Buhl.
“There is a level of uncertainty as far as what to expect, so far, we are doing really well, but we’ve dried out, we lost about 8% of snowpack across the state as a percent of median,” said David Hoekema a hydrologist with the Idaho Department of Water Resources.
What the drought conditions can change between now and the time when farmers put in their seeds, Pearson says farmers across the state are already coming up with backup plans as far as which crops do better in drier conditions.
“It will definitely, I know last year guys went into the season and made some last-minute changes to their crop rotation, and it may happen again this year,” said Pearson.
Barley and wheat require less water, and he expects production on those particular crops to be up again this year, especially if farmers have to start dipping into their water storage supply early again this year.
“Cause with less water, then we have to use more storage, and then we run out of water faster and that’s what caught us last year, we didn’t have the river flow, so we had to use more storage and that’s why we had to take a reduction,” said Pearson.
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