Irrigation services prolonged due to dry conditions

The dry weather is causing farmers to work overtime to keep their crops watered
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 4:05 PM CDT
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SOUTHEAST Mo. (KFVS) - The dry weather is causing farmers to work overtime to keep their crops watered.

Under normal conditions, they would be doing maintenance on the irrigation system this time of year, but due to the parched fields they are still using the equipment to get water to the crops.

There is a heavy rain falling in a Mississippi County soybean field, but the rainfall is not coming from the sky.

“It really stands out on a year like this because you’re having to make the rain,” Ryan Bateman said.

Bateman is the general manager of Irrigation Central in Sikeston.

“It’s a pretty desperate, dry situation for them right now,” Jerry Whittington, general manager of Mid-Valley Irrigation, said. “Farmers are having to do some things that they normally don’t have to do.”

Whittington has been with Mid-Valley Irrigation for 45 years. In all of that time, he can’t recall another time like this.

“I don’t ever remember watering much past the first of October, even on the later crops,” Whittington said.

The pivots, industrial-sized water sprinklers, aren’t usually needed this late, but because of how dry it’s been, farmers are still using them.

“It’s prolonging our service season and costing the farmers extra money to water their crops,” Whittington said.

“When you’re using the equipment that much and that often, of course you have more breakdowns and more maintenance,” Bateman said.

Bateman said repair parts used to arrive within a few days. However, now, it’s a different story.

“We may have to wait a week or two,” Bateman said.

With grounds this dry, Whittington said it’s hard on them and the farmers.

“Becoming a pretty good chore, a pretty good stress on farmers,” Whittington said.

He said the dry conditions emphasize the need for irrigation.

“Irrigation has been very important throughout the years, and I think that in years like this everybody sees how important it is,” Whittington said.