Tag Archives: Corn

Dramatic Benefits of Drip Irrigation System for Idaho Grower

For one Idaho Grower, the ultimate in water use efficiency on his farm boils down to two words: drip irrigation.

McKellip, who lives and works in the Treasure Valley north of Nampa, Idaho, installed his first drip irrigation — a Toro system — on one of RMF Farms’ fields in 2011. He installed a second system the following year; then, in 2013, a third. That 2013 field was seeded into sugarbeets. Prior to those drip systems, all his fields were grown under furrow irrigation.

A drip-irrigated field of mint in 2012 yielded 133 pounds of mint per acre, compared to a nearby furrow-irrigated mint field that came off at 94 pounds. The bottom line was $585 more income per acre, along with significant savings in water and fertilizer use, combined with less labor, fuel, equipment usage and insecticide inputs. Continue reading

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In Some Cases, Only Subsurface Drip Irrigation Will Do

subsurface drip irrigationYou probably don’t expect to find much drip irrigation on a field with 6° to 8° slopes. Yet, Lon Bohn and his brother-in-law, Don Blaschko, who run B&B Partners near Gibbon, Nebraska, operate such a subsurface drip irrigation system. Although they already had 997 acres under center pivot systems, the partners still had one 52-acre, irregular-shape field that presented a challenge.

With a 39-foot variation within 300 yards of the field length and more than 30 feet of grade from side to side, furrow irrigation was obviously out of the question. Continue reading

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How To: Drip Irrigation Basics & Case Studies

Click the links below to explore our archive of drip irrigation “how to” literature, drip irrigation basics, and case studies by crop. These real-world applications show why drip is the most efficient irrigation method that not only saves water, but also improves yield and crop quality. Continue reading

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Subsurface Irrigation Systems Drip Water When and Where It’s Needed to Support Higher Yields

A 40-year-old irrigation technology is seeing newly realized yield value as drought conditions, economic factors and resource scarcity issues intensify.

Initially adopted by U.S. vegetable, fruit and nut farmers in the 1960s and 1970s, subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) technology has rapidly advanced in the last two decades and continues to gain precision agriculture momentum.

Today’s SDI systems apply slow, frequent applications of water into soil and surrounding plant root zones through a system of driplines and emitters buried 10 to 18 inches below ground. SDI systems are well suited to support crop production in arid, semi-arid, hot and windy growing conditions such as those experienced by farmers in the High Plains states. Continue reading

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Great Plains Growers Use Subsurface Drip Irrigation to Maximize Efficiency

Lonnie Bohn and Don Blaschko installed a Toro SDI system on a 53-acre field four years ago and have seen higher yields due to increased water efficiency. “We started to look at the drip system because of the lower pressure and absolute efficiency. None of the water runs off,” Bohn says. “It’s all underground, so there is no evaporation.” Continue reading

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Increasing Irrigation Efficiency with Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) Systems

Irrigation efficiency is the key to extending the life of the Ogallala Aquifer. If current irrigation trends continue, 69 percent of the available groundwater in the aquifer will be drained in the next 50 years, according to a four-year study done by researchers at Kansas State University.

The Ogallala Aquifer, which is part of the High Plains Aquifer system, is vitally important to Great Plains agriculture. About 27 percent of the irrigated land in the United States sits on top of the aquifer, which provides about 30 percent of the groundwater used for irrigation in the U.S.

Subsurface drip irrigation is one way to use irrigation water more efficiently. Continue reading

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Why Midwest Growers Are Converting to Subsurface Drip Irrigation

In the Midwest, the land where pivot irrigation is king, some growers are converting to subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) to save water, decrease energy and labor costs, and increase crop yield and quality. Though there is an initial investment cost, the water savings and yield improvement reduce the payback period and the benefits of subsurface drip irrigation out-weigh many of the drawbacks of pivots, which include limited reach, costly additions, un-watered acres, and water loss to evaporation – just to name a few.

To learn more about SDI, check out the new “how-to” guide to subsurface drip irrigation. Or, continue reading to find out why Midwest growers are converting to subsurface drip irrigation. Continue reading

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Young Texas Farmers See “the Future of Agriculture” in Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI)

The tales of young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs launching new ventures out of Silicon Valley are common. But what about three 20-something brothers who live – not in some high tech mecca – but near the small community of Wilderado, Texas, who started a new business venture?

The Gruhlkey brothers – Brittan, 24, Braden, 25, and Cameron, 20 – are farming cotton, corn, sorghum and wheat while showing how technology plays an important role in farming. The average age of Texas farmers is nearly 60 years old, making their enterprise a unique one and they’re doing this amid huge challenges, including an ongoing drought and a growing demand for water.

“Because of the era we’ve grown up in, we’re comfortable with new technology and not wedded to doing things the way they’ve always been done,” said Braden, a third-generation farmer.

These technological advancements allow them to better water and feed their crops. Through subsurface drip irrigation, they can deliver water uniformly across the field and directly to the root of the plant to use water more efficiently. Through this irrigation system, they can schedule when plants are watered and eliminate over-watering. Continue reading

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Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI)

Click here to download Toro’s official guide to Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI). For Spanish, click here.

Subsurface Drip Irrigation is a specialized sub-set of drip irrigation where dripline or drip tape “lateral lines” (tubes buried beneath the crop rows) and supply and flushing “submains” (pipes supplying water to the lateral lines) are buried beneath the soil surface for multi-year use. The technique of burying less expensive Bi-Wall drip tape laterals beneath field crops was pioneered in the American Southwest decades ago, and has since been implemented by researchers and growers alike. The SDI technique is now being used throughout the world on a wide range of grain forage and fiber crops including alfalfa, corn, cotton, soybeans and sugarcane. In addition to drip tape, thinwall integral driplines are commonly used as well. Continue reading

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Toro to Offer Subsurface Drip Irrigation Guide, Education & Tools at Husker Harvest Days

Toro will be exhibiting at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, Nebraska, offering a variety of ways for growers to learn about subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) and how it can help them maintain or increase yields using less water, even during a drought.

At the booth (#436), Toro will be hosting a number of growers and dealers to share their experiences with SDI to grow soybeans and corn in Nebraska. Interested growers can learn the benefits of SDI first-hand and get a free demonstration on designing an SDI system using Toro’s AquaFlow drip irrigation design software. Additionally, Toro will debut a new ‘how-to’ guide for SDI, based on case studies and years of research growing a variety of crops. Growers attending will also see the actual results of an SDI system at a field demonstration hosted by the show. The first in the show’s history, the demonstration plot irrigates a 30-acre cornfield with SDI buried 14 inches deep on 60 inch centers. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Subsurface Drip Irrigation

The following video shows Toro and local dealer, Dubois Agrinovation, installing a subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system with pressure-compensating Aqua-Traxx® PC drip tape. SDI optimizes the production of field crops, such as corn and soybeans. Continue reading

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A Shift to Drip Irrigation

In the wake of the drought, the Midwest is seeing a shift from pivot and furrow irrigation to drip irrigation on some acres. In a recent and great article by Corn&Soybean Digest, reporter Larry Stalcup wrote about making the switch to drip irrigation. Larry interviewed Don Anthony, a Lexington, Nebraska, grower to learn about his experiences with subsurface drip irrigation (SDI), as well as Freddie Lam, an agricultural engineer and irrigation researcher at Kansas State University.

According to Freddie Lam of Kansas State University, more than 300,000 acres are now drip irrigated in the Great Plains, much of which is cotton. But many growers in the western Corn Belt and southern High Plains are also making the shift to drip irrigation for other crops such as corn and soybeans. Continue reading

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