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Tag Archives: drip irrigation on alfalfa
Newer irrigation systems like drip and subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) have been used by cutting-edge alfalfa growers for quite some time.
Even with the proven benefits, many growers struggle with the idea of moving away from traditional irrigation practices to something unfamiliar. How much will the conversion cost? What kind of return can I expect? Will this affect the number of cuttings each year? And perhaps one of the biggest questions: How do I control rodents?
Rodents cause yield loss and crop damage if not managed
Rodents are a concern for all alfalfa growers, regardless of what irrigation method is used. Pests like mice, voles and gophers cause yield loss and crop damage when not properly managed. Continue reading
Throughout the past few years, drip and subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) have emerged as new opportunities for alfalfa growers looking to conserve water and other resources.
The idea of greater water use efficiency (WUE) and resource use efficiency (RUE) is enticing growers who are on the fence about converting fields, while the expectation of achieving greater yields, a proven benefit of a drip and subsurface drip irrigation system, is pushing them over.
A good engineer will ask the proper questions to ensure the best system is recommended and installed for each unique operation, but it’s equally important growers ask questions about the system as it relates to the current field and future operation plans. Continue reading
Alfalfa’s been getting a bad rap lately, thanks in part to the drought currently affecting much of the western United States. This Thursday, January 14th, at 6p.m. PST on The Water Zone Radio Show, join special guest-hosts Inge Bisconer and Paul McFadden as they discuss water use efficiency in alfalfa. Continue reading
The practice of applying chemicals through buried drip irrigation lines has been used for decades in fruit and vegetable crops and orchards. Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) is pumping water into perforated poly pipes buried deep enough in the soil so that they’re not bothered by seeding and tillage equipment.
Inge Bisconer, a technical manager in Toro’s Micro-Irrigation division, said Toro has been an early developer of SDI.
However, drip irrigation is no longer exclusive to small-acreage, high-value horticulture crops. Continue reading
Through drought and wind, hail and rain, for 25 years Kansas State University researchers have studied subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) technology for field crop production. To mark the anniversary, K-State’s Northwest Research-Extension Center at Colby will host a special anniversary SDI Technology Field Day on Wednesday, August 6 at 105 Experiment Farm Road in Colby.
“This is where growers can come to have their questions answered,” said Freddie Lamm, research irrigation engineer with K-State Research and Extension. “We’ve built in plenty of opportunities for this to be an interactive day.” Continue reading
Alfalfa growers may be encouraged to take a fresh look at subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) based on promising work underway at the Burford Ranch in Five Points, Calif.
Francisco Parra, an agronomist and pest control advisor at Burford Ranch, presented preliminary information at an alfalfa pest and crop management meeting held in Dos Palos, Calif. in June on switching the ranch’s Roundup Ready alfalfa acreage to SDI on 60-inch beds to maximize water efficiency. Continue reading
Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) Brings Improved Crop Health, Efficiency & Reduced Labor Costs to Kansas Farm
Roger Johnson and his family have farmed an 80-acre plot just outside the western city limits of Hoxie, Kan., for years under flood irrigation. Even while using all of the 800 gallons per minute available, it was necessary to split the 80-acre piece in two and farm different crops to manage the water.
“We always had problems getting water through the field,” Johnson explains, “and many times the crop we produced would be very good on one end of the field and nonexistent at the other. I remember before we installed subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) on the field, one year we made 165 bushels of corn there.”
In 2012, a very dry year even in country that expects only 15 to 18 inches of rainfall annually, Johnson and his brother, Bob, and son, Heath, binned 220 bushels per acre on the 80-acre field by applying water at a 600-gallonper- minute rate—75% of the well’s capacity—with subsurface drip irrigation. This past year, that same field produced a 79-bushel soybean crop. Continue reading
When Bob Thomas and his son Rob began farming in the Imperial Valley six years ago, they quickly recognized that there must be a better way to irrigate their alfalfa. They soon discovered that cutting-edge growers were successfully using drip irrigation instead of sprinklers or gravity irrigation. After diligent research, they installed their first 116 acres with Toro’s Aqua-Traxx® drip tape in September of 2009, and have experienced significant benefits since then. Continue reading