Crops, Irrigation

NE Ag Water Management Network

Planting has been well underway and hopefully we will receive timely rainfall this growing season with little need to irrigate. If you have irrigated ground and are looking for ways to save money, reduce nutrient loss and use less water, consider joining the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network, or NAWMN. I’ve been in Extension for nearly eleven 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 Watermark SensorsManagement Network, or NAWMN. Evaluation results have shown a one to two inch savings of irrigation since it’s inception. In 2005, only a few producers in the Upper Big Blue NRD, (shortly followed by the Little Blue NRD) were participating, but as of last fall, this program has reached 1,393 in 18 NRDs and 73 of 93 counties. The Network has been having significant impacts on both water and energy conservation due to farmers adopting information and implementing technologies in their irrigation management.

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!  ETgage

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, go to Nebraska Extension’s Water Website. 

Irrigation, Programming

Agricultural Water Update

Greetings Readers!  It has been a while since I’ve posted, as I was on maternity leave but am back and will continue to post my weekly updates.

The last Farmers & Ranchers College program for the 2013-14 programming year is quickly approaching!  March

Those wishing to participate in the program receive assistance installing equipment and education on how to read the equipment.
Those wishing to participate in the Nebraska Ag Water Management Network receive assistance installing equipment and education on how to read the equipment.

20th at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds will be the setting for the Irrigation Management and Policy program featuring Dr. Suat Irmak who is internationally known for his work with agricultural water management. Suat started the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network, which many producers in the area participate. From his research, UNL Extension has been able to implement irrigation efficiency practices for producers. Using the watermark sensors and ETgage, producers are able to save money and water by reducing water on their crops while still achieving excellent yields. On March 20th Suat will provide updates on new research he’s conducted and answer other questions on the future of irrigation technologies.

Gary Zoubek, UNL Extension Educator in York County will also be available to provide updates on the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network and technologies he has tried with producers as well. David Aiken will provide updates on water policy across the state and issues producers need to be concerned for the future.

Representatives from the Upper Big Blue and Little Blue Natural Resource Districts will provide an update on irrigation regulations and other policies. Ryne Norton from Farm Service Agency will provide a brief update as well.

This program is free due to the generous contributions from Farmers & Ranchers College sponsors. The Farmers & Ranchers College was formed in January 2000 with the purpose of providing high quality, dynamic, up to date educational workshops for area agricultural producers in south central Nebraska through a collaborative effort between business, industry and higher education leaders. The Farmers and Ranchers College Committee consists of Fred Bruning of Bruning, Bryan Dohrman of Grafton, Sarah Miller of Carleton, Ryne Norton of York, Jim Donovan of Geneva, Gordy Nuss of Sutton, Bryce Kassik of Geneva, Jennifer Engle of Fairmont and Brandy VanDeWalle of Ohiowa.

Registration starts at 9:45 a.m. and the program will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Some irrigation booth vendors will also be available to browse and look at their products. Please call the office ASAP to register at 402-759-3712.