Some Central Valley Farmers looking to Recycled Wastewater

Many California farmers are in a tight spot this summer, because their normal water supplies have dried up with the state’s extreme drought. In the state’s Central Valley, that’s driving some farmers to get creative: They’re looking at buying water from cities — not freshwater, but water that’s already gone down the drain.

The parched conditions in the valley, the state’s farming hub, have been crazy. Actually, “crazy wouldn’t adequately describe what we’re going through here,” says Anthea Hansen, who runs the Del Puerto Water District in the Central Valley. “Having zero water available — we’ve been in survival and crisis mode for literally 24 months now,” she says.

What her district needs, she says, is a reliable supply — something that’s there, drought or no drought. Continue reading

VIDEO: Farming During Drought

In the following video, watch MSNBC’s Chris Hayes as he talks to Joe Del Bosque, a grower in California’s Central Valley, about farming during a drought. Continue reading

Drip Irrigation Best Practices: Optimize Your Irrigation in 5 Easy Steps

July is Smart Irrigation Month, and to help promote drip irrigation best practices in ag and farming, we put together this small list of ways you can optimize your irrigation system.

Don’t make the mistake of wasting irrigation water. Do your homework and learn about crop water requirement, the maximum precipitation rates of soils, soil water holding capacities, irrigation system application rates and irrigation system uniformities. Continue reading

Agriculture Irrigation Technology Transforming Farming

Madera County farmer Tom Rogers thought he knew a lot about how to irrigate his family’s 175-acre almond ranch. But several droughts, including the current four-year dry spell, made him reconsider his approach on how to get the most out of his ever-shrinking water supply.

For the last two years, Rogers has received no surface water, relying purely on groundwater wells to keep the ranch’s trees alive and producing.

Nothing is taken for granted on the Rogers’ farm, and nothing is wasted, especially water. Continue reading

Dramatic Benefits of Drip Irrigation System for Idaho Grower

For one Idaho Grower, the ultimate in water use efficiency on his farm boils down to two words: drip irrigation.

McKellip, who lives and works in the Treasure Valley north of Nampa, Idaho, installed his first drip irrigation — a Toro system — on one of RMF Farms’ fields in 2011. He installed a second system the following year; then, in 2013, a third. That 2013 field was seeded into sugarbeets. Prior to those drip systems, all his fields were grown under furrow irrigation.

A drip-irrigated field of mint in 2012 yielded 133 pounds of mint per acre, compared to a nearby furrow-irrigated mint field that came off at 94 pounds. The bottom line was $585 more income per acre, along with significant savings in water and fertilizer use, combined with less labor, fuel, equipment usage and insecticide inputs. Continue reading

AquaFlow 4 Upgrade

We are excited to announce the latest upgrade to our drip irrigation design software, AquaFlow 4 – available now at toro.com and driptips.toro.com. AquaFlow 4 may be used online or downloaded onto a computer for use when the internet is not available. Continue reading

Farmer Solves Water Woes with Subsurface Drip Irrigation

When Jim Bahrenburg looks across the land he’s worked in the Monument and Kimberly areas, he sees buried treasure.

That treasure isn’t gold, but water.

Drawn from the North Fork John Day River, this water flows through small underground tubes to gradually irrigate blocks of land for crops. Starting on the North Fork Ranch in the Kimberly area, Bahrenburg said he first planted rye to choke out the thistles on what was just a neglected pasture, and then continued the transformation by planting row crops.

Today the land produces corn, onions, beets, peppers, squash and dill. Continue reading

An estimated $10 Million in Grants Available for California Agriculture

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), authorized by emergency drought legislation (Assembly Bill 91).

An estimated $10 million will be available for competitive grant funding to provide financial assistance to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations.

The funding is made available through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, the proceeds of California’s greenhouse gas Cap and Trade program. Continue reading