Dry Farms In Region 8

July 27, 2007 - Posted at 6:45 p.m. CDT

BROOKLAND-As the sun radiates down on Region 8 crops, farmers say it's been an unusually dry summer.

"It has been an unusual pattern.  It probably isn't over yet.  This may be one of the years we have a wet fall or a wet, cold fall," said Craighead County Agriculture Extension Agent, Eric Grant.

No matter what is still to come, the very dry conditions have left many farmers finding their own ways of reproducing mother nature's moisture.

"It's not so much anymore a question of, am I going to irrigate this?  Yes, we're going to irrigate.  We are going to plan for it.  We are going to borrow the money for it," said Grant.

He says irrigating fields is becoming a way of life, no matter the cost.

"I know farmers that have bought extra tanker loads of fuel just for irrigation.  So, obviously it's going to cost them more money," said Grant.

But for many, the money spent on irrigation is well worth it.

Just to give you an idea of how much a difference irrigation makes on farming.  If you take a look at two stalks of corn.  This first ear is a much paler yellow, and not nearly as developed.  However, if you look at the second, much darker yellows and more fully developed, signifying the use of irrigation systems.  Farmers say that irrigation can mean a difference in a profit or not.

"They plan for those inputs before they even plant the crop.  It is a vital part of the planting process, and the crop process," said Grant.

Now it's also a vital part of farming for tomorrow.

"If you don't water, you don't make a crop to feed  your family with.  That's what they are looking at, and that's why they are doing," said Grant.

We are told, even though the weather has been unkind, many farmers are expecting a good harvest come this fall.

*Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.