Agricultural Research Service scientists at Fort Collins, Colo., are ushering farmers into an age of limited water supplies for irrigation.
New research results on variations in corn root width, depth and density may have an impact on irrigation management decisions, say Mark Sponsler, CEO of the Colorado Corn Growers Association, which is funding the ongoing study.
Sitting forward at his desk in Tyner, N.C., Dan Ward, of the C.A. Perry & Son farm operation, leans on his elbows and uses his index finger and thumb to punch in a series of numbers on his cell phone.
After growing up in the nursery business, Dan Batson earned two degrees in ornamental horticulture from Mississippi State University and started his career in Louisiana before returning home to make his living among the trees.
Finding a silver lining in a dry year isn’t easy. Rings of shorter, stressed corn or soybeans in a pivot-irrigated field mean lost yield in those locations, but they also point the way to problems with nozzles, sprinklers or other water delivery problems that can be fixed before or early in the next season.
For generations, irrigated producers on the Texas High Plains figured “fill ’er up” was the best way to preplant irrigate. When irrigation pumping capacity was more robust, specialists encouraged farmers to fill the top 3 feet of the soil profile.
Joe Reinart has found a way to use water more efficiently in his corn production near Stratford, Texas, that involves the calendar and planter as much as sprinkler pivots.
Examining the very narrow temperature range in which plants thrive, researchers have amassed years of knowledge and combined it with modern technology to ease decision-making for irrigators.
Water management is vital to farming the arid regions of western Nebraska. University of Nebraska researchers hope that the addition of a 1,280-acre West Central Water Resources Field Lab near Brule will help them find answers to the questions farmers and ranchers need to know.
Dozens of sensors and a crop-consulting firm keeps thousands of acres of corn properly irrigated each summer in north-central Indiana. Brian Kunce, Pro-Tech Partners, based at Leiters Ford, helps make sure irrigators understand sensor data.
Advancing technology is making it easier than ever to monitor your center pivot status, but you don’t necessarily need the latest bells and whistles to eyeball some problems in your system early in the season.
With high grain prices, farmers need yield uniformity across their field to take full advantage of their input expenses, including irrigation. In Nebraska, pivots have become the norm, comprising around 82% of irrigation systems, compared to only 60% a decade ago.
A group of vegetable growers from different regions of Australia toured California’s Salinas Valley recently and saw how vegetable farmers did everything from irrigation to harvest. Some of their findings surprised them.
In 2010, J.J. Long joined the small but emerging variable-rate irrigation club to manage a pivot circle with “wildly varying soil types.” Half of the circle seldom reached his yield expectations. “It never seemed to get enough water,” he says.