Central Plains Irrigation Association Conference to Spotlight UNL TAPS

Central Plains Irrigation Association Conference to Spotlight UNL TAPS

Irrigation, water management, and the UNL-TAPS program will be the focus of the Central Plains Irrigation Association (CPIA) Conference in Kearney on February 26-27.

CPIA is an organization for people in Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas who are interested in any facet of the irrigation industry. The conference will include presentations by university educators on irrigation methods, water management, and technology and by growers on their experiences with UNL-TAPS (University of Nebraska Lincoln Testing Ag Performance Solutions). The annual event also features an equipment exposition. View program details on the event flyer.

Discussing irrigation management at the annual UNL-TAPS banquet were (L-R): UNL-TAPS competitors Carla McCullough, Roric  Paulman, and Tim Franklin, and Gerald Franklin. (Photo by Amy Kremen)
Figure 1. Discussing irrigation management at the annual UNL-TAPS banquet were (L-R): UNL-TAPS competitors Carla McCullough, Roric Paulman, and Tim Franklin, and attendee Gerald Franklin. Paulman will be one of the presenters at the Central Plains Irrigation Association Conference in Kearney Feb. 26-27. (Photo by Amy Kremen)

The UNL-TAPS program is an interactive farm management competition bringing together scientists, producers, industry professionals, students, and more to promote efficiency and profitability in crop production. The program will be discussed in detail during one of seven technical sessions during the two-day conference.

TAPS presenters will include:

  • Roric Paulman, producer and 2017 TAPS Profitability Winner;
  • Tim Schmeeckle, producer and two-year TAPS Efficiency Winner;
  • Chuck Burr, Nebraska Extension Educator; and
  • Daran Rudnick, Extension irrigation management specialist.

Paulman and Schmeeckle will be sharing insights into the farm management practices they used for efficient and profitable production. Burr will provide an overview of the TAPS program and Rudnick will discuss the 2017 and 2018 results.

Paulman, a Paxton producer and UNL-TAPS Advisory Board member, has been involved in the program from its creation and says it is “one of the best ideas ever.” For him, the program is all about “innovation and adoption” of new technologies and mitigating the gap between what researchers discover in their studies and how producers use it at the field level. The other benefit he finds in the program is being “part of a peer network” with other contestants, educators, and industry leaders.

Roric and his son, Zachary, competed the first year, when both were in the top five and  Roric won the  corn competition. He said that win solidified decisions they were making in their own operation. Although he’s not competing in the 2019 Nebraska competition, Paulman said he is looking forward to seeing the Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) competition implemented this year since he has incorporated a small plot of SDI in his own operation. He believes that the TAPS program is “not just a competition, but a fundamental cornerstone to change” and provides substantial opportunities to young producers.

Schmeeckle, a Gothenburg producer and fifth-generation farmer, has competed both years in the sprinkler corn contest and won the efficiency portion of the contest both years. He said using input-use management technologies on his own operation has instilled the fact that “we’re money ahead with the technology.” With the use of soil probes and nitrogen management tools, producers can know when and how much to water, which increases their efficiency.

“The name of the game is we have to be able to raise the same or more with fewer inputs, and with this technology, we can do that,” Schmeeckle said.

The TAPS Farm Management Competition just completed its second year and is preparing to begin its third year. In 2018 the competition expanded from the pilot sprinkler irrigated corn competition to include a sprinkler irrigated sorghum competition. The participants competed in three categories: greatest grain yield, highest input use efficiency, and most profitable farm.

The 2019 program will kick off in March and feature the sprinkler irrigated corn and sorghum contests, as well as a new subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) corn competition. The new competition is being made possible through the donation of an SDI system by Eco-Drip of Hastings.

For more information on participating in the competition or becoming a sponsor, please contact Krystle Rhoades at krystle.rhoades@unl.edu.

For more information or to register to attend the CPIA Conference, please contact Donna Lamm, executive assistant, at 785-462-7574 or email donnalamm@yahoo.com.