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Irrigation Issues


As the summer sun continues to scorch the landscape in many places of the south, land owners and managers are forced to make some tough decisions about their crops and plots.

One of the decisions is to do nothing and let Mother Nature take its course. For many this is the only option. One of the core elements of good killing food plots is their remoteness and difficult to access. This also makes irrigation much more complicated and thereby expensive. Many years this is more than adequate. It seems that the rains come just when we need them most of the time. But some years and in some locations, draught is evident and crops are in serious condition. Recently I saw a field of corn that was no taller than three feet and brown from top to bottom. This crop is a total loss due to the draught and excessive heat.

Irrigation is often times necessary. But how and when to irrigate are just as important. Many land owners have water on their properties, ponds, rivers and good flowing streams. When possible, tapping into these sources enables possibilities to irrigate their crops. Getting permanent irrigation is difficult but advantageous. More about that in a bit. But for temporary and portable irrigation at remote locations can be involved. Gasoline pumps leading to pipes and then to sprinklers spread across several acres can be daunting and very labor intensive but worthwhile when the crops survive the critical stages of the summer.

A more permanent method is to dig an irrigation well. While this can be expensive, for many land owners and managers it is the most viable option. Especially when irrigating larger fields or multiple fields. A well will provide water when there is none in the ponds, creeks or steams. Most good irrigation wells are supplying enough water to allow for daily irrigation of crops. Other than the expense of digging the well, there is the issue of electricity to run the well pump for irrigation. I have seen many who will use a portable generator to run their well pumps and others who pay to have electricity brought to the location. It really depends on where your fields are and how deep your pockets.

Other options for irrigation have evolved and some ingenuity has led to some creative methods. A friend of mine used a volunteer fire department training to get water on his crops. The firemen needed a training session of operating their tanker and pumps and asked them to use the water on his crops, it worked great and his three acre plot was soaked with two and half inches of water. A similar but less ingenious method is to rent a water tanker and spray your crops with the water tanker.

Irrigation is for many a necessity. The soil is poor, or draught has set its talons on your piece of heaven and you have thousands of dollars invested in the plots that were planted and trying to grow. Good soil samples, excellent seed and fertilizer are all important, but nothing grows without water. When planning your plots and crops don’t forget the irrigation to ensure an excellent harvest.