As I drive across the area, I’ve noticed that corn is emerged and planting appears to be going well for producers. As I write this a thunderstorm is brewing so hopefully we’ll continue to receive adequate moisture and you won’t have to irrigate much this year, but I’d like you to consider joining a program that can not only improve your irrigation efficiency, reduce nutrient loss and save you money! I’ve been in Extension for nearly six years and a program I’ve been involved with that has been a very rewarding program and made a positive impact for many is the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network, or NAWMN.
My colleague, Gary Zoubek tracks the evaluation results and shared that in 2005 only a few producers in the Upper Big Blue NRD, (shortly followed by the Little Blue NRD) were participating, but this program has now grown to over 700 producers across the state and I’m sure we’ll add another 100 or 200 more this season! A couple of the tools we use are ETgages® or Atmometers which mimic crop evapotranspiration or ET and Watermark soil matrix sensors which measure soil matric potential or the energy required to remove water from the soil. These two tools have really worked well and have made irrigation management much easier than those gut feelings. The more information you have the better decisions you can make!
If you would like to participate in this dynamic program, let me know and I’d be happy to help and get you started! If you are in the NAWMN, consider installing your ETgage soon and once done with planting, start the soaking/drying cycle on your Watermark sensors to be sure they work! It’s also important to replace the #54 alfalfa canvas covers and wafers on a regular basis at the start of each season. For more information, check out our website.
Natural Resource Districts Celebrate 40 years!
Speaking of Extension collaborating with NRDs, did you know that according to NRD staff, 2012 marks the 40th Anniversary of Nebraska’s unique Natural Resources District system. NRDs are local government entities with broad responsibilities to protect our natural resources. Major Nebraska river basins form the boundaries of the 23 NRDs, enabling districts to respond best to local conservation and resource management needs. NRDs rely on locally-elected conservation board members who have the ability, the heart, and the motivation to care for our natural resources.
According to Alyssa Smola, NARD, Nebraska’s natural resources districts protect lives, property and the future of Nebraska’s natural resources through a variety of projects, programs and partnerships. Projects and programs range from flood control structures, cost-share funding, tree plantings, and water quality and quantity management. Many of these would not be possible without strong partnerships with other organizations; partnerships that provide opportunities for land owners and provide protection and conservation of Nebraska’s natural resources.