Steve Melvin - Extension Educator Irrigated Cropping Systems

Steve Melvin

PO Box 27 1784 Fairgrounds Rd Central City NE 68826-0027
Center pivot in corn field
Starting to irrigate too soon can lead to wasting water, poor soil environment, increasing costs, and leaching nitrogen which can result in lower yields.

Soil-Water-Plant Interaction Basics

June 12, 2024
As irrigation season approaches, producers may find it beneficial to review the basics on how soil, water and plants all work together to grow crops.

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Soil types in Nebraska map

The Impact of Spring Rainfall on Available Soil Moisture

May 15, 2024
Assessing whether rainfall is sufficient to recharge soil moisture to adequate levels is not an easy task. This article covers key aspects of soil-water relations and how recent rainfall in Nebraska may affect available soil moisture for future irrigation decisions.

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Pivot in field
Irrigating a late season soybean field. (Photo by Steve Melvin)

Optimize Those Last Few Irrigations

August 17, 2023
Leaving the field a little drier at the end of the season can help producers save irrigation costs, decrease leaching losses, improve soil conditions for harvest traffic, save water for future years and capture more off-season precipitation.

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Pivot with end gun
There are two reliable methods for overcoming the challenges of lower uniformity and nitrogen application rates when using the center pivot's end gun: using a variable rate injection pump, and slowing the pivot down when the end gun turns on (for systems with computer panels).

How to Determine the Chemigation Injection Pump Setting for a Center Pivot with the End Gun Off and On

June 18, 2024
The key to knowing the correct setting for a chemigation pump is to first determine how many acres per hour the pivot will cover at the desired irrigation application depth or rate.

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Crop sensor
Figure 1. Early installation of sensors helps minimize root and leaf damage and makes it easy to get around the field with the pickup or ATV to install the equipment.

Study Reviews Farmer Irrigation Scheduling Tendencies in Dry Years

June 8, 2023
Many producers in Nebraska will need to irrigate in June to refill the soil profile before high water demand begins in July, but there are numerous factors to consider when calculating the appropriate irrigation amounts.

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Pivot irrigation system
When irrigating fields early due to drought, the most reliable method to know when and how much to irrigate is to monitor soil moisture at multiple depths.

Early Season Irrigation During Drought

June 7, 2023
For producers who are irrigating early this year due to drought, it's critical to monitor soil moisture to balance crop needs with the risk of losing nitrogen and other valuable crop inputs, while also avoiding the expense of over-irrigating. 

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Interseeding video intro
It’s important to plan ahead of time and know your goals when adding cover crops to your operation. In this article, Nebraska Extension evaluates numerous cover crop species and provides guidance on how to choose the species that will best fit your production needs. This video shares additional information on cover crop species used.

Interseeding Cover Crops into Early Season Corn and Soybean: Species Selection

April 27, 2023
In this article, Nebraska Extension evaluates numerous cover crop species for interseeding and provides guidance on how to choose the species that will best fit your production needs.

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Soybean interseeded in wheat

Herbicide Considerations When Interseeding Cover Crops

April 20, 2023
UNL Extension professionals provide insights on timing and volume of herbicide applications for interseeded cover crops to help producers avoid germination and plant establishment issues this growing season.  

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