McGEHEE, Ark. – The Monday-Tuesday rainfall in Arkansas may provide some short-term relief for farmers suffering from that nagging pain at the pump – the irrigation pump that is.
Wes Kirkpatrick, Desha County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said his county received 1-3 inches of rain. The state has been so dry many growers had to turn on the well pumps early just to plant spring crops. In many cases they had to keep pumping to ensure the young crops’ survival.
It doesn’t take much to understand why farmers call a significant rain event a million-dollar or multi-million-dollar rain.
“I figure wells can be shut down for about five to six days in corn, seven to 10 days in beans and cotton, and a couple in rice,” Kirkpatrick said.
“If you put the math to it, the money savings in just diesel would go something like this: Average 2 gallons of diesel per hour, 24 hours a day, $3.25 diesel, 2,000 wells in Desha County alone equals about $312,000 per day the wells are not running,” he said.
That $312,000 per day doesn’t include the inestimable value of rain in its ability to activate fertilizers, herbicides and moisture for non-irrigated crops.