As levels of the two reservoirs that provide water to farmers on both sides of the Mexico-Texas Rio Grande border continue to drop, a Texas A&M irrigation engineer cautions growers about over-irrigating.
Together, lakes behind Amistad and Falcon dams are at 44 percent capacity compared to 73 percent at the same time last year, according to a news release.
Falcon Lake stands at 19 percent; Amistad at 54 percent.
“All irrigation should be supervised because it’s so important to avoid any spills,” Juan Anciso said in the release. “Try to avoid runoff. Furrows should be blocked off at the lower end of fields, and if we receive any rainfall of more than 2 or 3 inches, growers should delay irrigation.”
He is based at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco.
Irrigating alternate rows in furrow irrigation can save up to 30 percent compared with irrigating every row.
He also encouraged growers to keep the growth stage of the crop in mind, since some crops require no or little irrigation once they reach maturity.
In fact, he said, most crops won't lose yields even with 20 to 25 percent less water than what they actually require.