Farming starting the pumps weeks early

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 6:57 PM CDT
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WEINER, Ark. (KAIT) - Farmers are irrigating soybeans and rice weeks early.

With only small rain chances in the forecast, farmers are trying to keep the ground saturated and avoid over-watering.

“This field is 102 acres and we are pumping around 1500 gallons per minute,” said farmer Scott Matthews.

With irrigation pumps firing up weeks ahead of schedule, the pumps need more diesel.

Matthews said the price has come down some from last year, but he was not planning to begin irrigation this early in the crop lifecycle.

“It’s still expensive, especially when you have to do this excessive pumping more than you have budgeted or planned for, so it is going to cost,” said Matthews.

Matthews said from a farming perspective, he sees some comparison to the drought we saw around this time last year.

“Last year, it started around the second of June and we went 58 to 61 days without rain and this year, it has started earlier,” said Matthews.

Matthews and other farmers around northeast Arkansas hope this is just a rough start to the growing season and this year is nothing compared to the previous.

With the low humidity coupled with the low rainfall totals, Matthews said farmers are finding themselves in a very bad spot.