SC Ag Commissioner Pleased with Irrigation Boom

South Carolina’s Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers is a participant in the irrigation boom that’s currently underway in the Carolinas. Weathers is pleased to see irrigation go into so many South Carolina farms:

“I was told some incredible number of irrigations systems going in, something well north of 300 going in around the state. What it means is that with the nice profits that farmers have made in the past few years, they’re just investing it back into their operations.”

Weathers explains that the system that he’s preparing to install in an addition to several on his farm:

“Our system that we’ve got ordered will give us a total of ten, and on average we’re 130-140 acres per system, we’ll be north of 1200 to 1300 acres irrigated, out of about 2,500 acres, so about 60%. That may be typical for farms in our part of the world with the large, open acreages.”

As far as the crop to focus on, Weathers says inarguably; corn:

“With most farmers you rotate, it is your corn crop that is one of your more expensive crops you put in, and one that is water susceptible…moisture susceptible, as much as any. So, you try to keep your irrigation focused somewhere on your corn crop, some folks can rotate, then the next year that acreage may have wheat in the winter, and through the spring, and then followed by soybeans, or peanuts. So, it’s a crop rotation thing, but again, you’re irrigation, your moisture probably needs to be focused on your corn crop.”

Like a lot of farmers with corn, Weathers saw a significant drop in yields last year due to drought last year:

“Last year, for non-irrigated corn was just terrible, that’s why you see so many systems going in. but, non-irrigated corn crop in certain parts of the state that didn’t get the rains in let’s say May and June, that we need, well, you had 30…30 to 40 a bushel acre yields that under irrigated land could have been 100 difference just because of that moisture at the right time.”

But, as we all know, rain water is best:

“One thing about irrigation moisture, it’s not like Mother Nature, it’s not as…it’s not the same. But, naturally you’ll take moisture however you can get it when that crop needs it.”

South Carolina’s Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers. 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.