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Another season has passed, and Bob McKellip is happy to report that his second year of utilizing drip irrigation on mint was even better than the first. “This Spring, I started up the drip system and everything worked perfectly,” explains McKellip. “I have found that the system is very simple and easy to operate once it’s set-up, and that its just like any other piece of modern farm equipment. With drip, I easily spoon fed my crop with the water and fertilizer it needed on a weekly basis, and harvested unheard of yields on second-year mint – 188 pounds of mint oil per acre!”
McKellip noted that this was achieved in spite of record heat, minimal rainfall, and variable soils with differing water holding capacities. “With drip, I was able to fine tune the irrigation schedule to accommodate different soil types and get more water where it was needed.”
As a result, not only were yields boosted, but water and fertilizer use was down as well. Continue reading
The first three Idaho farmers to use a drip irrigation system on mint fields reported mostly favorable results after the second season, but they did face a few problems with the new practice.
As a result, the Idaho Mint Commission is financing a three-year trial at University of Idaho’s Parma research station to further refine the practice.
Nampa farmer Robert McKellip, who last year was the first Idaho farmer to put mint on a drip system, said he used about 2 feet of water per acre on the 56-acre field this year, compared with the typical 5 acre-feet for a field that is furrow irrigated.
He said he also used a lot less fertilizer and yields were great.
“I’m really pleased with it,” said McKellip, president of the Idaho Mint Growers Association.
McKellip said the drip system proved its worth this year on water savings alone. The 2013 growing season in the Treasure Valley was marked by a tight water supply that caused several irrigation districts to shut off water a month early
If all farms in the valley switched to drip, “we’d never, ever have another drought,” he said. “I”m using less water on my mint drip system than I’d use during a drought year.” Continue reading
In this Boise, ID news report, local grower, Bob McKellip shares how drip irrigation has helped him irrigate peppermint more efficiently. Plus, it helps preserve the Boise River. Click here to watch the video.