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.
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?
Research conducted by the University of Nebraska and elsewhere shows that corn is relatively drought tolerant during the vegetative period, but very sensitive to water stress during silking through early grain fill.
Every irrigator can make excellent irrigation scheduling decisions by getting the right information and analyzing the data. Today it is easier they ever to install equipment the will automatically record and help analyze the data before sending it to your computer or smartphone.
Pivots have several potential hazards, making it important to review safety procedures each year with every person on the farm. Every person that will operate the system should read all the safety instructions in the machine’s manual or be trained by a knowledgeable trainer.
The last few irrigations of the season require some of the most important water management decisions of the year. An unneeded irrigation may waste 1 to 3 inches of water and 2 to 5 gallons of diesel fuel per acre and leave little room in the soil profile to capture winter/spring rains.