Irrigation tips, potential for cost savings to be reviewed at sessionsBy Dave Edmark
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Feb. 26, 2016
• Jonesboro and Stuttgart are workshop sites
• Data gathered from cooperating farms in 2015
• Management systems led to significant water and energy usage savings
LITTLE ROCK – Workshops in Jonesboro and Stuttgart will provide producers a chance
to hear details that were compiled from irrigation water management demonstrations
last year on cooperating farms in the state. The University of Arkansas System Division
of Agriculture is sponsoring the events.
“Agents and farmers will present findings and experience gained from implementing irrigation water management comparing it to their current management,” said Chris Henry, a water management engineer for the UofA System Division of Agriculture at the Rice Research and Extension Center. “Irrigators and those who advise irrigators will learn about practical cost savings and lessons learned from implementing irrigation water management practices.”
The presentations will begin with open registration at 9:30 a.m. March 7 at the Northeast Arkansas Exposition and Conference Center at 7001 Johnson Ave. in Jonesboro and at 9:30 a.m. March 8 at the Rice Research and Extension Center at 2900 Highway 130 East in Stuttgart. Both sessions will run until mid-afternoon. Attendees should call Phil Horton at 870-673-2661 to register. There is no cost to attend.
Among the topics to be discussed during the presentations will be computerized hole selection, surge irrigation, pumping plant optimization, soil moisture sensors, irrigation scheduling and initiation and termination of irrigation for corn, cotton, soybeans and peanuts.
“We saw very significant savings in water and energy usage, which translate to reducing overall production costs for our farmers,” Henry said. “Putting all the tools available to improve irrigation we saw on average a 27 percent savings. Additionally we were able to save on average $511 per power unit generally just altering how we operated the unit.”
“My cooperator was so impressed with the surge valve efficiency that he intends to convert all of his furrow irrigated acres to this practice,” said Russell Parker, Crittenden County extension agent.
Grant Beckwith, Arkansas County extension agent for the division, worked with three cooperators in 2015 and has become a big fan of soil moisture sensors and surge valves. “The farmers have all commented on how much improvement using these tools has made and are interesting in doing more next year,” he said.
Brett Gordon, White County extension agent, said, “These demonstrations were a real learning experience for the Watkins farms and me. We were shocked with how much energy we were using and the savings we could realize.”
Event sponsors in addition to the Division of Agriculture are the United Soybean Board, the Mid-South Soybean Board, the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Board, Cotton Inc., and the Natural Resource Conservation Service through a Conservation Innovation Grant.
For more information about irrigation, contact your county extension office or visit.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your county extension office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service