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.
Factors such as the amount of water a soil can hold, the amount of water a crop will use until it reaches maturity, and the maximum allowable soil water depletion should be considered when deciding the last few irrigations of the season.
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.
During the fall of a building La Niña event, the northern and central High Plains region has a tendency to be warmer and drier than normal, which will keep drought prospects elevated for 2022 barring an exceptionally wet late winter and spring.
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.