Little Projected Rainfall Means More Irrigation Needed

Clint Thompson Alabama, Corn, Cotton, Florida, Georgia, Irrigation, Peanuts, Soybeans, Weather

File photo shows irrigation at work in a cotton field.

By Clint Thompson

Limited rainfall over the next couple of weeks means row crop growers need to be irrigating early and often to get their seed producing.

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist Wes Porter said water requirements for cotton and peanuts is low early in the season. But they do still require water.

“If we’re absolutely getting no rainfall and the soil conditions get pretty dry, we do need to make sure we get some irrigation on them. Get that crop up, and get it moving,” Porter said. “Don’t overwater them. You can find that information pretty easily. Call your extension agent. Look in your production guides. You’ll see where you’re at.”

Corn is especially vulnerable at this point in the growing season. With most of the crop planted in March, at a minimum it should be close to the V8, V9 stage, if not older.

“It’s starting to ramp up in peak water use, let me tell you that right now,” Porter said. “Some of these warmer, drier days that we’re having and the lack of rainfall, you’re going to start needing a lot of water on that crop. You might start needing water every two to three days depending on soil type to make sure it has adequate moisture.”

Dry Conditions Expected

According to weather.com, the forecast for rain in Tifton, Georgia over the next two weeks is at its highest on May 18-19. There is 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms. With dry conditions expected all next week, growers need to stay up to date on their crop’s water requirements.

“I think when I looked at long term, we don’t have many large events. There’s some 30%, 40% and 50% chance across the 7- to-10-day forecast. We might catch some rain. But I don’t see any of those large storms we were getting in that March-April timeframe,” Porter said. “Which is good, we don’t want 3 to 4 inches at a time. At the same time, we need a few events to come through.”

About the Author
Clint Thompson

Clint Thompson

Multimedia Journalist for AgNet Media Inc.