Alfalfa growers using pumped irrigation water should consider taking advantage of lower electricity rates before May 24 to make up for a dry spring, say Utah State University extension specialists.

Utah Power & Light Co. rates for irrigation pumpers will rise seven to eight cents per kilowatt hour during the summer, depending on the user's rate schedule, said specialist Bob Hill.Checks of soil moisture in many fields, Hill said, show they are three inches or more below capacity in the root zone.

"Estimated water use by alfalfa for April and May ranges from six to nine inches in Utah. Growers should apply that amount of water, less rainfall, to have the soil at field capacity by May 25," he said..

But Hill warns growers to gauge the soil water-holding capacity carefully and not over-irrigate.