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Wait and See: Modesto Farms’ Futures May Be Dry

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It is nothing Conrad Greydanus is used to seeing in January, extra dry dirt and dust in the middle of his Modest walnut orchard.

That is how 44 days of no rain has left the soil for Greydanus’ walnut orchard.

If the trends persists another 20 days, he said he will start to see a 5 percent loss of his crop.

“We are praying for rain. I do not have the luxury of pumping it out of the ground and sprinkling it,” Greydanus said Monday.

Another rare site to see this time of year are running sprinklers, but that is how Jake Wenger is keeping his almond orchard from over drying.

“Just to give you an idea, Modesto Irrigation District has only had five winter irrigations in the history of the district,” Wenger told FOX40.

Wenger, who is also the Director of Modesto’s Irrigation District, says as of Monday, reservoirs only have half the amount of water to cover a regular irrigation year.

In southern California, some farmers have already been told they will get zero allotment from their water districts. In Modesto, it is still a game of wait and see.

“When we know how much water we are going to have, then we know how much water we will be short so we can plan accordingly,” said Wenger

Farmers should know by mid March how much water the district will allocate.

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