Rain Brings Some Relief To Eastern Idaho

Published online: Apr 19, 2004
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A very welcome rain storm from a weekend low pressure sytem brought some relief to growers in the Snake River Valley of Idaho. Although dropping goodly amounts in some areas, believed to be up to one/quarter inch, the steady but lights rainfalls will not put a dent in the continuing drought.

In fact as more and more canal companies start their draw on the Snake River storage system for irrigation of grain, hay and some sugarbeets, the river drops lower and the system's storage amounts will start to fall. Statistics show that 76 percent of the state's beet crop had been planted to April 11 as compared to 55 percent last year and an average for the date of 40 percent.

The system was at 57 percent full inching up a little more but irrigators already know it will be another water-short year. Mountain snowpacks are melting fast and dry soil has taken much of the runoff.

Water conditions as listed by the Idaho Agricultural Statistics Service show supplies to be 5 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 41 percent fair, and 37 percent good.

Only 3 percent of the state's potato crop had been planted to April 11 as compared to 4 percent for this date last year. Southwest Idaho planting stood at 30 percent, above the 24 percent of last year on the same date and above the 20 percent annual average. Eastern and southern Idaho growers will begin planting this week.

Top soil moisture in the state, before the weekend rain, stood at 3 percent very short, 28 percent short and 69 percent adequate. Warm temperatures and significant winds have dried out top soil (up to April 15).

IASS reports that statewide, extension agents report a need for significant rains to relieve crop stress.   

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