Hopefully producers won’t have to irrigate too much this year, but I’d like you to consider joining a program that can not only improve your irrigation efficiency, but reduce nutrient loss and save you money! I’ve been in Extension for nearly nine 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.
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, install your ETgage soon and start the soaking/drying cycle on your Watermark sensors to be sure they work! As crops have emerged or about to emerge, its important to install your Watermark Sensors soon.
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, go to the NAWMN website.