Drought Conditions Cause Concern Among Kansas Farmers

Drought Conditions Cause Concern Among Kansas Farmers

At least six counties are under a warning status and three are under a watch. Normal rainfall for this time of year is six inches, and Southeast Kansas farms have received a little more than two inches since May.
PITTSBURG, KS.--- Aaron Williams operates a small farm south of Pittsburg. He says dryer conditions this year have forced him to use other sources to water his crops.

"We started a drip irrigation about 30 days ago that normally we wouldn't of placed in the gardens until about late June, early July," said Aaron Williams, Southeast Kansas Farmer. 

Although the recent rainfall has helped crop farmers with the top soil moisture, if dry conditions continue, it will affect the subsoil moisture.

"That's going to be our biggest concern, we're really going to need some summer rain this year to make the crops go forth, and especially the pasture conditions right now," said Dale Helwig, Kansas State Extension Agent. 

Hay crop farmers are also suffering; they're only able to produce about half the crop production for this time of year. A Cherokee County agriculture specialist says livestock farmers will suffer the most. 

"We haven't had any large rain, so our ponds are not as full as where we need them going into summer. So, if we don't keep seeing rains, we'll have issues there," said Helwig. 

Which is another advantage to running a smaller farm. Williams says he can control some the environmental occurrences, like water or moisture. 

"So a lot of things that'll be a problem to a large farmer may not be a problem to a small one, and then it's vise versa. So they have insurance that will protect them and we don't have that at this point," said Williams. 

He adds most farmers agree drought conditions can be nerve wrecking, but it comes with the territory. 

"They always say it's always rained before, it's going to rain again, but it never helps you in the time when you need it the most, such as this year," he said. 

According to the Kansas Water Office, Southeast Kansas drought conditions will remain the same or get worse for the next three months. The drought is expected to shift farther east than originally projected. 

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