Irrigation is making sure the crops in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska are faring well this summer, even with the hot, dry days.
Since late May, the irrigation canals for alfalfa and some other early crops have been running.
“Most guys are on now and running all their heads,” said Dennis Strauch, general manager of Pathfinder Irrigation District. “We have a few guys going off and on, like hay producers, but we’ve really done pretty good at meeting demand and haven’t had too many issues.”
The dry edible bean crop is progressing well, especially where there has been irrigation.
“Our heat units are definitely above where they were at this time last year and where we are normally,” said Courtney Schuler, field operations manager at Trinidad-Benham. “So, as long as those beans get the fertility and moisture, they will move right along.”
The insect pressure on the beans is not high, but weeds are becoming a problem, and keeping them under control is a primary focus for growers.
Not many crops are raised in the region without irrigation, and this year, Strauch said there should be enough water without having to restrict use.
“We are using a lot of water. We got started a week to 10 days earlier than normal, and demand came on real quick,” he said.
The heat is driving water use from irrigators, but along with the heat, crops could see an early maturation date.
Schuler said for some dry beans, they could mature faster, but not all varieties will, and the most significant factor is still the amount of water the crop can get in a timely manner.
The Bureau of Reclamation will begin its annual silt run on July 12, which will help seal up the canals and reduce seepage, saving water for the irrigators and the districts