Irrigation Update/Water for Food Conference

Last week, I reflected on the Rural Futures Conference I attended. This week I have my first Crop ET report to publish and found it only fitting to then talk about the Water for Food Conference quickly approaching.

First, the ETgage I have just outside of Geneva changed 1.9 inches for the week of May 11-18th. Producers using the ETgage should remember this doesn’t mean crops used this much water since corn in the V-4 stage has a coefficient of .18”. To calculate how much water, corn at V-4 stage used you simply multiply .18” x 1.9” for a weekly use of .34” or .05 inches/day. Corn approaching V-6 would have used .67”/week or .10” per day. 

As I write this column, later today I will be helping a producer who is new to the Nebraska Ag Water Management Network install his ETgage and Watermark sensors, which are the second tool we use which monitor the amount of water available in the soil profile. Watermark sensors are installed early in the growing season at 1’, 2’, 3’ and in some case 4’ depths!  The sensors are glued to plastic pvc pipe so we can remove them at the end of the season and use them for several years. 

 Just a reminder to producers with sensors, before we install them, they need to be soaked in water, dry for 24 hours, soak and dry them again twice.  Then install the sensors wet; which improves the response time for the sensors.  By installing them early in the season in a representative part of the field, you will have another tool to make irrigation management decisions with! 

For more information about ETgages and Watermark sensors, check out the NAWMN website. 

Global Water for Food Conference

The fourth global Water for Food Conference, May 30-June 1, will bring together international experts to explore how advances in science, technology and policy can help rain fed and irrigated agriculture feed the world. “Blue Water, Green Water and the Future of Agriculture” is the theme of this year’s conference, hosted by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, Neb.

An IANR news release reports that the conference fosters international dialogue on key issues related to the use of water for agriculture and provides opportunities to learn from speakers with extensive experience and perspectives from diverse cultures. Last year’s conference drew more than 450 participants from 24 nations, including representatives from universities, agriculture, industry, government and nongovernmental organizations worldwide. The conference theme focuses on “blue water” drawn from aquifers, rivers and lakes to fuel irrigated agriculture, and “green water” that falls as precipitation and is stored in fields to sustain rain fed crops. To meet the growing global food demand, agriculture will need to find ways to use less water and boost both rain fed and irrigated crop yields.

The Water for Food Conference is the preeminent event of the university’s Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, a research, policy and education institute established in 2010 and committed to efficiently using the world’s limited freshwater resources to ensure a reliable food supply.

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