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S. IDAHO DROUGHT TO HURT IRRIGATION, BEAN FARMERS

Farmers south of Twin Falls have been told to expect less than one-fourth a full share of water for irrigation this summer - not enough to grow beans profitably.

As of Monday, snowpack in the basin that drains into the Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir was about 59 percent of average for this time of the year.Rich Yankey of the Soil Conservation Service said normal snow accumulation peaks around the first week of April, but that peak already appears to have been reached.

The snow monitoring station at Langford Flat in the Shoshone Basin, south of Twin Falls, was bare of snow for the first time in 11 years of recordkeeping, Yankey said. Last year the station measured about 8 inches of snow on March 1.

The dry conditions prompted the Salmon River Canal Co. to announce Tuesday that it likely will deliver less than one-fourth of a full share of water to irrigators. Bean yields would suffer if that figure doesn't improve.

John Courtnay of Hollister said the company should allow for other options in case the area gets a lot of spring rain. Then if there is more water than planned on May 1, it would not be too late to plant beans, he said.

Beans are an important rotation crop that fixes nitrogen in the soil and are usually a good cash crop.