Installing Irrigation Systems Takes Time

It’s generally considered boom times for irrigation systems in the Carolinas. Donny Lassiter, North Hampton County farmer and president of the North Carolina cotton producers association has been working for a while at irrigating part of his family farm:

“We are looking to put in a dam and use a few wells. We want to get everything in place before we go out and purchase a pivot system. We are trying to put in enough to irrigate about two hundred acres, it will about two or three pivots. It’s a project that has been going on for about two years.” 

For some farmers installing irrigation, it’s as simple as pumping water from farm ponds, for others, not so. Lassiter has had to deal with several government entities:

“We’ve had to have several officials come out to get exemption on the wet lands so we could complete the project. Everyone has been very good to work with; it’s just taking some time to get all the ducks in a row.”  

As far as reasons for installing irrigation, Lassiter’s reasons are many, not the least of which is watching 165 bushel-an-acre corn go to 50, or zero in the summer heat:

“From an economic stand point, you are more efficient because you are getting more bushels or more pounds off the same acreage. Even looking at the expenses, fixed for the initial equipment and then the variable expense of electricity, it’s worth it to get more out of the land and side step the drought conditions. A lot of times with a crop like cotton or peanuts, it doesn’t take a lot of water, they just need a little at the right time.” 

As far as fuel source for the irrigation pumps, Lassiter is taking advantage of electricity where he can, but electricity isn’t available at all locations:

“One project will be diesel because of our limited access to electrical currents. We will mix up the others according to the best available solution, either diesel or electric.” 

Donny Lassiter, North Hampton County Farmer.

Photo courtesy:   No. NRCSCO87001 is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.