Recent Rainstorms Give Boost to Area Agriculture - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Recent Rainstorms Give Boost to Area Agriculture

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Fallon farmers typically get four hay cuttings a year. But with just 21% of their normal water allocations many are lucky to get 2% this summer. 
That's why the rain has been a nice surprise.

"Usually, if we get an inch of rain, here in the valley, that's a huge rain. We have had some rains, this year, that have been upwards towards three inches,” says Walter Winder of Truckee-Carson Irrigation District.

Rick Lattin adds, "The rain has been awesome. In fact, the rain is what's given us the second cutting of alfalfa."
The rain has also been good for Lattin's watermelons, cantaloupes and vegetables. "We were able to shut our drip systems off, several times this year and conserve the water for later in the season."
Still, the drought's impact is obvious, here - with many farmers leaving their fields bare. "We had to leave about half of our crops out. Didn't grow them at all, particularly the corns and the grains."

"It's almost eerie.  We have almost no corn in the valley,” says Winder.
The rest of the summer is not expected to get much better. The last water delivery of the year was two weeks ago. "We delivered to everybody that we possibly could with the water that we had in the system, until that ran out, and that was the end of it."

But farmers have found new ways to manage during droughts. Lattin is using a method that requires 30% to 40% less water. "We just irrigate exactly where the plants are and then we cover them with this mulch to try and hold the water."

But without irrigation, farmers are hoping Mother Nature will deliver. "If we could order up a rain, the end of July, the first of August, it would be awesome because we've still got our perennial hay alfalfa crops. Any little kind of rain will give us a little more feed and a little more income."
Lattin says one thing farmers want is consistent weather and this summer has been anything but consistent. While the rain has helped, the weather has also brought hail that has ruined crops in some parts of Nevada.

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