BROWNFIELD, Texas– Farmers across West Texas agree that the last few months have caused a lot of challenges for the season. The lack of rain has left the soil too dry to plant. Kirk Martin has been pouring thousands of gallons of water on his lands ahead of planting his peanut crops. Which he said might very well be in vain.
“It’s hard to get motivated for something that you feel like is going to be a failure,” Martin said.
Texas Tech University’s Professor of Crop Physiology Glen Ritchie, Ph.D., said crops require a lot more water than Farmers will be able to supply through irrigation.
“West Texas is one of the world leaders in irrigation efficiency,” Ritchie said. “We’re using the latest technology… We’re using the best tools that we have available to us, but we’re now at a point where it really comes down to the quantity of water that we have. We can put out almost every drop of water that we have available to us, but a crop is going to need hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per acre every year just to be able to produce it. We just don’t have the physical capacity to meet that demand.”
This year, farmers like Martin have already put gallons in the soil trying to meet the high demand, but well supplies aren’t what they used to be.
“My granddad bought this farm, and it originally had two wells on it,” Martin said. “Those two wells would do what this pivot is doing now or if not more, and now I have five here to try to get that same amount of water … Where he lived on the farm, we used to add water to circles at 800 gallons per minute, and now we can water one circle at 300. So, our water is going down. As farmers, we are trying to be as conservative as possible with this water.”