Brant Peterson examines some soil on his farm in Stanton County, Kan. Peterson says he's noticed that the Ogallala aquifer, from which he draws to irrigate his crops, has declined rapidly in recent years as Kansas experienced a drought. His farm got just seven inches of rain a year for six years. During that time, the water level in his wells dropped by more than half. In 2009, Brant says, his was able to pump 5,400 gallons per minute from 15 wells. Now those wells are pumping just 2,600 gallons per minute for the same acres, and the water must be drawn from deeper under the ground, almost 600 feet, increasing the cost of pumping. Acutely aware of how little water is left, Brant uses satellites and apps on his phone and iPad to monitor his sprinklers and fields. “To me, I’m as efficient as I can be with my water,” he said. “The only thing I can do to conserve is to cut back acres."
Brant Peterson examines some soil on his farm in Stanton County, Kan. Peterson says he's noticed that the Ogallala aquifer, from which he draws to irrigate his crops, has declined rapidly in recent years as Kansas experienced a drought. His farm got just seven inches of rain a year for six years. During that time, the water level in his wells dropped by more than half. In 2009, Brant says, his was able to pump 5,400 gallons per minute from 15 wells. Now those wells are pumping just 2,600 gallons per minute for the same acres, and the water must be drawn from deeper under the ground, almost 600 feet, increasing the cost of pumping. Acutely aware of how little water is left, Brant uses satellites and apps on his phone and iPad to monitor his sprinklers and fields. “To me, I’m as efficient as I can be with my water,” he said. “The only thing I can do to conserve is to cut back acres." Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle
Brant Peterson examines some soil on his farm in Stanton County, Kan. Peterson says he's noticed that the Ogallala aquifer, from which he draws to irrigate his crops, has declined rapidly in recent years as Kansas experienced a drought. His farm got just seven inches of rain a year for six years. During that time, the water level in his wells dropped by more than half. In 2009, Brant says, his was able to pump 5,400 gallons per minute from 15 wells. Now those wells are pumping just 2,600 gallons per minute for the same acres, and the water must be drawn from deeper under the ground, almost 600 feet, increasing the cost of pumping. Acutely aware of how little water is left, Brant uses satellites and apps on his phone and iPad to monitor his sprinklers and fields. “To me, I’m as efficient as I can be with my water,” he said. “The only thing I can do to conserve is to cut back acres." Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

5 reasons farmers grow thirsty crops in dry climates

July 24, 2015 11:50 AM

UPDATED July 24, 2015 12:50 PM

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