Steve Melvin - Extension Educator Irrigated Cropping Systems

Steve Melvin

faculty
Work
PO Box 27 1784 Fairgrounds Rd Central City NE 68826-0027
US
Drought monitor
As of April 21, 96% of Nebraska was in moderate to extreme drought (D1-D3), resulting in dry soils for many this planting season.

Considerations for Planting into Dry Conditions

April 22, 2022
As planting is critical for everything else that happens during the growing season, the dry conditions have led to a variety of questions this planting season regarding soil conditions, planting depth, irrigation and herbicides.

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Irrigation systems aerial view
Figure 1. Center pivot irrigation systems dot the landscape along the South Platte River. On the North Platte River, Lake McConaughy reservoir stores water which is later used for irrigation. (Photo credit: Google Earth)

New Article Traces Aspects of the History of Irrigation in the Great Plains and Water Productivity

March 23, 2022
A review of the history of irrigation in the Great Plains region from a geographical, technical and political perspective, as well as how it has impacted water resources.

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Pivot irrigation

Scheduling the Last Few Irrigations of the Season Deserves More of Your Management Time Than Earlier Irrigations

August 19, 2021
University of Nebraska irrigation scheduling recommendations encourage irrigators to allow crops to continue using more of the stored soil water starting in August and continuing into September when the crop matures.

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Interseeding tour brochure

Early Season Interseeded Cover Crop Driving Tour June 29, 2021

June 18, 2021
This free tour will provide an opportunity for individuals interested in interseeding cover crops to view interseeded corn and soybean fields at several locations across Nebraska.

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Homemade interseeder
Figure 1. In 2019 in York County (left), the grower built his own interseeder and tested a nitrogen mix (4 lb/ac crimson clover, 3 lb/ac red clover, 2 lb/ac yellow sweet clover, 4 lb/ac Winterhawk annual ryegrass, 1.5 lb/ac impact forage collards, 1.5 lb/ac Trophy rapeseed) vs. diversity mix (2 lb/ac red clover, 2.5 lb/ac Hubam white seed clover, 4 lb/ac Winterhawk annual ryegrass, 1 lb/ac purple top turnip, 3 lb/ac golden flax, 0.5 lb/ac phacelia Angelia, 0.5 lb/ac chicory) interseeded at V5-V6 corn vs. check treatment. Seward County (right), a Hagie was used to broadcast interseed 10 lb/ac red clover and 5 lb/ac buckwheat into V6 corn vs. check treatment.

Results from Interseeding Cover Crops into Corn or Soybean

May 12, 2021
A summary of the studies conducted via Nebraska On-Farm Research and Soybean Management Field Days on interseeding cover crops into living corn and soybean.

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Cover crops interseeded in corn

Interseeding Cover Crops into Corn and Soybean: What We’ve Learned

May 6, 2021
Due to recent research efforts, Nebraska Extension educators expand recommendations on techniques and plant species used for interseeding cover crops in corn and soybeans.

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Irrigation end gun
End guns are a very common feature on center pivots in certain areas. (Photo by Steve Melvin)

Center Pivot End Gun Considerations

August 20, 2020
End guns have been on center pivots from almost the beginning and the merits of their use have been debated about as long. Some farmers would not have a pivot without an end gun and others would not have a pivot with one.

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Soil water gauge
Figure 1. Wouldn’t it be great to have a soil water gauge to help determine when the crop water supply is getting low just like the gauge in a pickup that tells how much fuel is left.

How To Keep Irrigation Cost Down On A Dry Year With Low Grain Prices

July 16, 2020
Irrigation expenses are usually the biggest energy cost on the farm. On dry years, they become even higher. So how does one know when the system must be started and when it can be turned off? How should the low commodity prices this year affect these decisions?

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