Irrigation in the Southern Delta

We dried up quick in a hurry this year, so we’re in the middle of irrigating this week. That’s all we’re doing, and we probably won’t have much else to do all summer. This is about week 2-3 of this and I’m just about to collapse.

Emergence was good, and we got off to a great start with our stand. But we hit a stretch in May that was just rain. It wasn’t torrential downpours, but we just stayed wet to the point where we couldn’t get back to the field. Every day we’d get an inch or two of rain. And then when it got a chance to dry off, we got another half inch of rain. It became a timing issue with fertilizing and spraying. If we got one thing sprayed, we couldn’t get another thing sprayed. Just little stuff like that. It just stayed very wet and delayed things. And once we got caught up, we went from constant rain to hot and dry. By the time we got back to the field, 10 days later it was dry and we decided we needed to start watering.

Irrigation

So now we’ve just got a long way to go and we haven’t had rain in 2–3 weeks. So now we’re irrigating everything. Usually we do six weeks, give or take. Last year was an anomaly, because when we started to water, we didn’t even make it around a full time before we caught a rain. We only had to water for two weeks last year, total. This year remains to be seen, but we’ve probably already watered as much as we did last year.

Typically we start watering about mid-June and then we go until mid July. We don’t have the type of soils and the type of dirt that holds moisture very well. We have a lot of compaction and tight dirt.

Liquid P and K

We started using liquid P and K lately, which Wayne, my AgVenture Yield Specialist suggested that we try this year. We used a fungicide in V5 testing with Wayne, and we did a large chunk of the liquid P and K across 43 acres sporadically. And as of today, you can’t tell any difference. We don’t know yet anything about it, but I can’t believe it.

Crop Stage

Right now our crop overall looks pretty good, if we keep water on it. We’ve top dressed, and we’re at brown silk and on the dryland, and we’re almost to dent on some fields. We have 106-day and some 110-day, and we’ve been very impressed with the drought tolerance on it — it looks very promising. If we catch one more good rain, it’s going to be an above-average crop.

The 106-day is new to our farm, and it’s one that Wayne recommended. It was somewhat challenging to plant (it looks like a checkerboard out there), but I think it’s going to pay off.

Overall, if we could catch one more good rain, we’d be in good shape. We’re not in that “holy crap, it’s a disaster” stage, but if we could get one now, it’d be perfect timing. But the crop overall looks pretty good.