Dry Conditions Taking a Toll on Valley Farmers

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Hidalgo County -

While cotton growers are thriving in these dry conditions other crops are struggling.

With harvest for citrus just around the corner we spoke with grower Fred Karle who says they are looking for all the rain they can get.

"We missed out on good rain in September. September is our primary rain fall month, we missed out on that in 2016," said Karle.

Most of Karle's orchards are in Hidalgo county, right now the area in an abnormally dry or moderate drought state.

With the lack of rain in certain parts of the valley it makes farmers rely more on irrigation water and this can have it's down side.

Karle says while rain water is mostly pure, ground water can carry salt.

"When every your adding that to the soil it can hurt the soil structure it hurts the tilt of the soil and it's just not good for our plants that are there," said Karle.

When conditions are as dry as they are, Karle says it's better then nothing though costs to irrigate can add up.

"say 30 to 50 dollars an acre pretty easily," said Karle when asked how much he pays.

Citrus isn't the only crop needing water Karla added that there can be a lot of demand for irrigation, "The spring season (was busy) all the cotton and grain and corn farmers were irrigating their crops that put a high demand on the water."

Karle says which ever crop is in season has a higher priority when it comes to irrigating. With a summer this dry he says it's not unheard of for other farmers to have to wait.


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