Waimanalo farmer weathers drought - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Waimanalo farmer weathers drought

Waimanalo corn farm Waimanalo corn farm
Dominic Kadooka Dominic Kadooka
National Weather Service National Weather Service
Kevin Kodama Kevin Kodama

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

WAIMANALO (HawaiiNewsNow) - On his corn farm in Waimanalo, the ongoing drought's driven farmer Dominic Kadooka to get creative. So he diversified.

"There's measures that we have to take. We have to possibly cut back on some of the planting to conserve on our side," he said.

Now instead of just relying on his corn crops that dropped in yield by about fifty percent, Kadooka plants pumpkins, runs an outdoor store on his property, and gives hay rides to farm visitors to supplement his income.

But the biggest change at his Waimanalo Country Farms is his watering system.

Instead of overhead sprinklers, Kadooka lines his fields with hoses that let water out a drip at a time. It waters directly onto the plantings and not between rows. That cuts down waste.

"It's a lot of work to put in but once it's in the ground, we've saved about seventy percent.  So even with the drought that's going on right now we've still got production," he said.

At the National Weather Service, hydrologist Kevin Kodama said there are pockets of improvement for some drought stricken areas on the Big Island of Hawaii. But the rain forecast for early 2011 calls for optimism tempered with caution.

"The forecast is still for above normal rain," he said. "But we just want to caution folks not to really count on that too much. There's a lot of uncertainty with a la nina type of forecast."

The drought has the state maintaining a thirty percent reduction in water for Waimanalo farmers.

Kadooka hopes his new watering technique helps him weather the storm of not enough rain until nature changes its mind.

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