Farmers seeking alternative methods to keep crops alive amidst drought

Published: May. 23, 2019 at 7:42 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - May 12 was the last day it rained, and with no signs of high temperatures going away, farmers are turning towards drip irrigation to keep their crops healthy.

“By using drip irrigation we can manage the amount of water that we’re feeding to the plants or putting in the beds and we can control those moisture levels where we like them to stay," said farm manager Walt Webb with Lewis Farms.

Lewis Farms uses this practice to keep their fruit soaked with just the right amount of water. Fruits typically don’t need much water to thrive, in fact, the farm rather likes dry weather. The problem is, the lack of rain could take a toll on the reservoir they use for their irrigation system.

“Now we do need some rain to fill up our reservoirs which we pull our drip irrigation from," said Webb. "Those can evaporate or get low with us having to use additional water and them not being replenished.”

Last year, the farm had over 14 inches of rain in May. This year, Wilmington as a whole has only seen 0.3 inches of rain in May. Over the entire year, the Cape Fear has experienced a 6 1/2 inch rainfall deficit.

WECT meteorologists have predicted hot and rising temperatures throughout the next week. If that stands, farmers will have trouble keeping their crops alive for the Summer.

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