The weather here in Central Oregon has been very wet, especially in the last two weeks or so. It is tempting to turn off irrigation after a hard downpour, thinking that it gave enough moisture to shut off for a day. However, it takes a hard rain for at least 8 hours or so to get the needed moisture down to the roots, rather than just wetting the top two inches of soil.

Before you decide to shut off that pump and save some electricity money, take a shovel out to your field and check the driest area by digging down at least 6 inches. If the soil is moist enough to make a ball, go ahead and shut off and get out of the rain! But on the other hand, if the soil is light-colored and crumbles, better get that wheel line moved.

If you do decide to turn off without adequate rainfall, you will get behind on your rotation and your field will start to get stressed on the dry areas.  Drought-stressed grass takes awhile to recover, so you will lose any power savings that you may have received by shutting the pump off because of reduced yields.