On-farm Irrigation Research

On-farm Irrigation Research

Panhandle Irrigators Sought for On-Farm Research Project

Aug. 12, 2015

Irrigators in the Nebraska Panhandle are being sought to partner with the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center to study soil variability and variable-rate irrigation.

Amir Haghverdi, new Nebraska Extension water management and irrigation specialist at the Panhandle REC, is seeking several farmer partners to be part of the project.

Haghverdi said variable-rate irrigation is one way to optimize irrigation and crop yields in fields with a lot of variation — either in soil types or rolling topography. Different types of soil texture (for example, silty soils in some parts of a field and sandy soils in others) can affect a soil's water-holding capacity. Rolling topography can influence infiltration and runoff, he explained.

Haghverdi hopes to have several farmer partners identified when he submits a grant proposal in late August. Farmers who would like to participate should contact Haghverdi soon. He will then inspect the field to determine its suitability. At each location, he plans to map the soil, delineate irrigation management zones, and then meet with the farmer and talk about possible irrigation management scenarios.

Good candidates for the project would have variability in soils or a variable rate irrigation system.

Cooperating farmers will have fields mapped and data analyzed for free. In the second phase of the project (after the soil is mapped), Haghverdi will select fields in which to place soil-moisture sensors to monitor soil water status. Sensor data and aid in interpreting it will be provided free.

Haghverdi expects to conduct more variable irrigation projects in the future, as well as research projects on irrigation scheduling and deficit irrigation. Any farmer interested in hosting an on-farm experiment is encouraged to contact Haghverdi at ahaghverdi2@unl.edu or 308-632-1246 or Dave Reichert, research technician,  at dreicher@unl.edu or 308-632-1235.

Dave Ostdiek
UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center