Protek Specialty Co

Farmers Turn to Dry Farming in Face of California Drought

The Practice May Change Crop Yeilds


Houston, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/01/2015 --Everywhere you look in the news these days, there's a story about the serious drought in California. From almonds to apricots, cows to chickens, harvest and livestock production; many agricultural niches are suffering as a result of the drought. Not only does this mean prices are going up because of agricultural goods' increasing demand growth, farmers must also look to alternative methods of crop production. Dry farming—where crops are farmed without irrigation—is becoming a must for many farmers because of the drought and ecological concerns elsewhere.

Is dry farming feasible?

Dry farming uses no irrigation at all; instead, rainwater hydrates and grows the produce. Farmers use sophisticated (and sometimes not) irrigation systems utilizing drainage systems, motorized pumps, and hand powered pumps to move water when and where it is needed. Irrigation pumps and primers are crucial in the movement of rainwater for dry farming. Read more about pumps and primers for agriculture here.

Not all crops will benefit from dry farming, but many different types of crops like walnuts, apples, grapes, almonds, and apricots, may thrive from the practice. In fact, people have been using dry farming successfully for hundreds of years. As one man, farmer Mike Cirone said of apples, "When you let them do their own thing, it really accentuates the unique flavor of each variety."

In addition to the crop type, another factor that makes a big difference when dry farming is soil type. Sandy soil doesn't typically mesh well with dry farming, but soil found in foggy and moist areas does. During a drought—where there's little rainwater at all to use for dry farming—high yields are rare.

A Big Change for Farmers in the State of California

The state of California has irrigated more square acreage of land than anywhere else in the nation. For many, dry farming feels as intimidating as it does foreign. For those who have been at the practice of dry farming for years though, the tradition is not about drought; it's about generating high-quality produce that tastes great without relying on water traveling from hundreds of miles away.

Using Water More Efficiently

Dry farming is a feasible and environmentally sound practice for many crops. However, crops like cereal grains need a lot of water to thrive. Because cereal grains are a leading crop in the U.S., the market cannot afford to lose the crop. Putting more efficient water use systems in place and practicing conservation is a must. Using gray water, composting, mulching, wastewater recycling bins, and more are all good first steps. As the California drought continues, it will be interesting to see how resourceful Californians become, and how many begin employing dry farming methods.

About Protek Specialty Co
Protek Specialty Co is a leading manufacturer of high-quality, custom irrigation hand pumps, priming devices, and oilfield specialties for moving and removing liquid. Based in Houston, Texas, we've been creating specialized equipment for the irrigation and oil industry since 1946.