Measurable rainfall the past two weeks has not ended the drought, but it does help farmers by conserving their irrigation water supplies.
The recent rainfall is a big benefit for plants and farmers.
“Early on, with all the storms going through, we weren’t getting much. We got a tenth here and there and six feet of wind. It wasn’t real beneficial,” said Phil Fine, Madras farmer. “But the last two weekends, we got measurable rain that actually made a difference.”
Fine says more than an inch of rain that fell on his fields amounts to a free irrigation cycle. It means he can irrigate one more time and finish the crop to a point it could produce up to 100 bushels of wheat per acre.
RELATED: Central Oregon Forecast
That is pretty good production in the midst of a drought.
“When we have so little water that was already allotted to everything, it frees up an irrigation for something else. Whether we water the wheat one more time, maybe we water alfalfa once or twice to get a second cutting,” he said.
The North Unit Irrigation District’s main canal is running about half its normal capacity for this time of year because of all the recent rains.
The farmers don’t need as much water right now.
It doesn’t mean the drought is over. It means the water that remains available to famers will last a little while longer.