Despite the ongoing drought, local farmers say this spring’s cool weather has them feeling optimistic that their crops will provide a bounteous harvest.
Irrigation water is expected to be scant this year, but the cool rainy spring has decreased crops’ water needs and saved reservoir water, said Leland Hogan, a Stockton rancher and president of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation.
“The cool weather and moisture we’ve had makes a big difference for the reservoirs,” he said.
However, Hogan said farmers should water with caution as the summer continues. If not, he said, it is probable that local reservoirs will run dry before the end of the season.
It’s not that this spring has seen any lack of rain in the valley, said Scott Droubay, a farmer in Erda. The problem, he said, is the long-term trend of below-average snowpack in the surrounding mountains.
That the reservoirs could run dry by the end of this summer is almost a given, Droubay said. The real question, he said, is whether the three-year-long drought has lasted long enough to impact those who, like most Erda growers, rely on well water.
Despite the uncertainty, Droubay said he and other farmers have proceeded to start their crops as they would any other year.
Hogan added range conditions are better for grazing than forecasters initially anticipated.
Tooele County has also been spared the late frosts that have afflicted farmers in other parts of the state, Hogan said.
“I’m cautious, but much more optimistic than I felt last month,” he said.