Drip Irrigation is King During Drought

Don Cameron

Drip Irrigation is King During Drought

August 17, 2015

Terranova Ranch Surviving the Drought: Drip Irrigation

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

As the drought continues to preside, farmers persist in their efforts to improve farming techniques to make the most out of what little water they have available. Don Cameron, general manager of Terra Nova Ranch, Inc., said the 7000-acre ranch in Helm, in Fresno County has managed to keep its 30 crops viable in the middle of the drought by changing its irrigation methods.

“We’ve been able to continue farming the acreage that we have, even in the fourth year of a drought,” Cameron said, “because we’ve changed all of our row crops irrigation to buried drip irrigation. We use every drop of water that we have.”

“We’ve also put in drip irrigation systems on all our trees and vines,” Cameron said. “We have irrigation scheduling. We use evapotranspiration data—we’re not putting on anything more than what we’re actually using.”

“So we’re able to find a solution just to get through these tough times,” Cameron said, “and we hope to have a wet winter and get a good snowpack so next year we’ll have more water. We’re farming like we’re in a drought every year. We’re never really going to go back to the ways that we used to farm.”