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Online Irrigation Cost Calculator

Have you ever wondered what fair price could be charged for the water your pivot delivers to an adjacent neighbor’s field?  Or have you wondered what it would cost if you changed to a different fuel source?

The Irrigation Cost calculator was first developed by Tom Dorn, retired Extension Educator, and was a tool I used and recommended to farmers and landlords in various situations such as those above.  The tool has now been redesigned as an online tool with updated numbers built in.  Data is entered by you for your operation and calculations are made on a remote server.  You can then choose to save your data for later reference or to input various options to compare costs.  Calculated output includes fixed and variable costs calculated per-acre and per-acre-inch of water applied. The following information is from Roger Wilson, Extension Farm Management Specialist and Budget Analyst.

Irrigation Cost Calculator

To use this tool, you’ll need to gather some key information:

  • Operating data such as interest rates, wage rates, area irrigated and inches applied, diesel price or electricity rates, and drip oil price. (Energy costs may be estimated from pumping lift, system pressure, and pumping plant efficiency or from historical data such as past energy costs, past fuel prices or electrical rates, and past application rates.)
  • Ownership costs such as the estimated replacement price, expected life and the salvage values for the well, pump, power plant, gear head, and sprinkler system.

Fair Share Feature for Adjoining Parcels

After these costs have been calculated, you can use the “Fair Share” feature to estimate the cost for running a center pivot over adjacent land. Additional data needed for these calculations are the number of adjacent acres to be irrigated and the estimated acre inches that will be applied. The “fair share” can be calculated on the added acres irrigated or on the amount of water applied. This feature has two components: fixed and variable costs. The fixed cost is an annual cost and the variable cost is for acre-inches of water applied.

User Guide

The Irrigation Cost Calculator web page includes a video on how to use this tool.

Mobile Apps for Irrigation Management

Earlier this year UNL Extension introduced three mobile apps to aid in irrigation management, which are described further in UNL CropWatch in the links below:

Agriculture Irrigation Costs App. Calculates ownership and operating costs for center pivot and gated pipe irrigation systems and the most commonly used energy sources. This tool is based on the same resource as the Irrigation Cost Calculator web tool described above. The Web app is a “quick and dirty” means to calculate costs, while the mobile app offers more options for testing and analyzing various options. The mobile app offers side-by-side comparisons for systems that use different energy sources, analysis of gated pipe as well as center pivot systems, separation of landowner and tenant costs, and calculating yield increases necessary to pay for application of an extra inch of water.

Irrigation Pumping Plant Efficiency. Helps you identify irrigation pumping plants that are underperforming and need to be adjusted, repaired, or replaced with a better design.

Water Meter Calculator App. Calculates the amount of water pumped by irrigation pumping plants and can store data such as field size (in acres), flow meter units, and allocation and annual irrigation caps for each field.

Apps and Mobile Sites for Mobile Devices on the Farm

It didn’t take long for the phrase “there’s an app for that” to be seen and heard regularly in the phone and mobile deviceUNL Extension Educator Gary Zoubek shares app information via his iPad during lunch at the Nebraska Technologies Association Conference world.  Today, there are many apps and mobile websites that can be fantastic tools for producers to use in decision-making.  University of Nebraska Extension has developed several mobile apps to take a look at and be sure to visit our site often to learn of additional new apps.  

In addition to our Extension Apps, Dennis Kahl, UNL Extension Educator, and I have also compiled a list of a few mobile apps that we think could be useful to farmers yet this year as they get closer to harvest, but also for next year to test out and see if they will indeed help them do work quicker and make decisions more accurately.

Today we are going to highlight a few mobile applications and mobile websites that producers may be using now as they make preparations for fall harvest.

  • UNL CropWater – provides an easy way to estimate soil water status based on Watermark sensors installed at depths of 1, 2, and 3 feet. With these sensor readings, the Crop Water app will estimate the water used as well as what is still available for Nebraska soils.
  • Market Journal –  Television for Ag Business Decisions.  Weekly crop reports, markets, weather and current insect, MJ app from UNL Extension based off Market Journal TV show http://marketjournal.unl.edu disease and harvest issues. It was also listed at Agriculture.com’s #1 ag app for 2013.
  • RealAgriculture – focuses on the issues that are impacting agriculture.  The site is focused on getting farmers the opinions on issues so that you not only get the news but the insight into what the news means in the production business.
  • DTN/PF – The Progressive Farmer – provides market data, link charts to market data for single, seamless view of how the latest prices correlate with current market trends.
  • Farm Progress – Keep up on local ag news, grain and livestock markets, enhanced weather and blogs as well as Nebraska Farmer magazine.
  • Husker Harvest Days Show – Maximize your time at Husker Harvest Days with this application that includes exhibitor and category lists, show maps and other tools to help you maximize your time at the show.
  • Ag PhD Harvest Loss Calculator – Allows farmers to estimate yield loss before and during harvest by recording the number of individual corn, soybean, wheat, sorghum, barley or oat seeds found on the ground in a square foot.
  • Combine Performance Optimizer by John Deere – Help operators adjust and set the critical settings for next year’s harvest of small and large grain crops to improve machine performance.
  • Calibrate My Sprayer – Aid in the proper calibration of spraying equipment.
  • In addition to the apps listed above, Crop Life featured a story of the Top 13 Mobile Ag Apps for 2013 and Agriculture.com has a list of mobile apps.  Take a look at these as well.

With wireless technology available in most areas of the state, we utilize Verizon Wireless with our mobile devices in the field and in our communities to update various social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs.  Mobile access has allowed University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension to provide current information and situations in the field at all times.  We encourage producers to subscribe to various resources including:

Special thanks to Dennis Kahl as a Guest blog contributor to this post!

Mobile Ag Apps from UNL

This week I saw an article from agriculture.com that had ranked UNL’s Market Journal app as the Number 1 agriculture app!  I’ve also felt it was the MJ app from UNL Extension based off Market Journal TV show http://marketjournal.unl.edu best ag app from UNL providing markets, each week’s show segments via YouTube, weather, and all the CropWatch articles in a one-stop app.

So being snowed in right now, I thought it would be a good time to share some new apps developed by UNL.  The newest ag apps are for livestock.  Some of you are in calving season and UNL Extension just released the NUBeef-BCS (body condition scoring) and NUBeef-Anatomy apps that may be helpful.  They are available on the Apple App Store and will be via Google Play shortly.

NUBeef-BCS allows producers to visually assess their cow herd using a number system that objectively describes the amount of condition or fat reserve of the animal.  Body condition score describes the relative fatness of a cow based on a nine point scale.  When using the NUBeef-BCS app, producers can simply take photos of their beef cows and then score cows at important times throughout the year, such as at weaning and before the start of calving and breeding season.  Taking pictures of the same cow multiple times throughout the year allows producers to better manage the herd according to Rick Rasby, UNL Beef Specialist.   He said one of the challenges during winter is producers want to score body conditions, but cows have their winter hair coats. The app includes drawings of cows in different body condition scores that also can help with that.  An added component to the app is an education component and is designed for instructors to use at all levels-from high NUBeef-BCS (body condition scoring app) from UNL Extension school, junior college, and four-year colleges.  The app has a group of cows that have already been body condition scored that can be pulled up and used to practice scoring.

The NUBeef-Anatomy app provides visual and text information about the muscles and bones of the beef carcass. The user can navigate through the carcass by displaying cross-sections and then touch any muscle or bone to display the respective physical and chemical properties.  Check out the NUBeef YouTube channel for more info. or watch Feb. 1’s segment of “Market Journal”.

A listing of all mobile apps from UNL Extension can be found here.

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