Discussion: Irrigation Scheduling


I’m adding this post as a discussion topic as we get into the growing season for producers to post their irrigation scheduling questions or to share what their sensors and ET gages are reading.  With the Nebraska Ag Management Network, we’ve learned that producers often need other producers to check their readings with-kind of like a support group for producers involved with this effort.  That’s because it’s hard to not irrigate when neighbors are irrigating and your irrigation scheduling tools are telling you that you don’t need to irrigate!  We’ve had some good discussions in the past so I look forward to the discussions this coming year!

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on June 1, 2011, in Crop Updates, Irrigation Scheduling and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Some pivots have been running to incorporate herbicide or to fertigate, but for the most part, there’s no reason to be irrigating yet! While installing watermark sensors, the top 4-6” are dry and hard, but there’s close to a full soil profile below that! My 4’ sensors in Lawrence in a dryland field are reading right at field capacity for sorghum, corn, and soybeans, while the 1, 2, and 3’ depths are still reading above field capacity, so allow your crop roots to root down to moisture to establish stronger plants and to save you water and energy costs!
    Have you checked out CropWatch lately at http://cropwatch.unl.edu? Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator from York County has been posting pod casts of weekly evapotranspiration (ET) updates-check them out! Also, if you are a cooperator in the Nebraska Ag Water Management Network (NAWMN), please be sure to post your ET gage readings online to benefit other farmers and crop consultants. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact Gary at gzoubek1@unl.edu.

  2. Last week was a blur of phone calls but it’s great to receive them and know so many of you are doing your best to wait for your soil to be depleted before scheduling your first irrigation! There are some of you in the Little Blue NRD who haven’t received the rains the past few weeks and have hit the 90-100 trigger on your watermark sensors to schedule your first irrigation. Most of you reading this won’t have to irrigate till after tassel (and then you can take into account the 3rd foot in your average)! The 90-100 trigger relates to 35-40% soil moisture depletion and is proven by research via Dr. Suat Irmak at South Central Ag Lab for our silty clay soils. Waiting for the trigger, regardless if you’re on load control or not, will still allow you at least a week to 10 days before you have to worry about getting behind. Please continue to call with questions or post your comments, questions, and readings here!

  3. We are in the process of putting together a spreadsheet for entering the Watermark readings and crop stages. Once that information is entered, it will automatically figure the allowable depletion, and days of water remaining. Once we get it finalized I would be willing to share it as a tool to help with irrigation scheduling

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