Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Drought forcing more farmers to irrigate crops

More farmers than ever are irrigating their crops in the wake of crippling drought, increasing demand for water-well drilling and new irrigation equipment, reports P.J. Huffstutter of Reuters. The near-record expectations for farm income -- $92 billion for 2012 -- is also fueling the increase in sales of irrigation equipment, because farmers will lose less yield if they can irrigate their crops. Manufacturers say that a large number of farmers who have never irrigated before are starting now.

Huffstutter writes that "as the trend grows, the implications will spread." Small shifts in the amount of acres irrigated could mitigate yield losses, which could throw off production outcome forecasts based on weather conditions. It could also intensify friction "over water use as expanding populations, bumper crops, ethanol production and the boom in fracking consume ever-larger volumes of the country's finite water supply," Huffstutter writes. The amount needed for dryland crop irrigation is small, but environmentalists say farmers tapping into the country's water supply could have environmental consequences. (Read more)

1 comment:

Matthew Platte said...

""The amount needed for dryland crop irrigation is small...""
Huh? Small compared to what? In Oglalla territory, "small" isn't exactly the best descriptor. One of a zillion such examples: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/07/texas-water-district-acts-to-slow-depletion-of-the-ogallala-aquifer/