For 36 years, Husker Harvest Days has been the premiere agricultural show for the technology that drives irrigation. This year, a subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system has been installed at the show site to irrigate a cornfield and part of the grass parking lot south of the exhibit area.
Show Manager Matt Jungmann said it’s the first time an SDI system has been installed at the site. He said he’s pleased with the results of the SDI, which Western Irrigation of Garden City, Kan., installed in the spring. Jungmann said last year’s drought was hard on the six-acre parking lot, but the SDI has helped restore the grass. He said corn harvested on the ground with the SDI system is averaging more than 200 bushels per acre.
The SDI drip lines are on 60-inch centers and buried 14 inches deep. The system is fed by a 300-gallon-per-minute well powered by a submersible pump and applies water directly to the crop’s root zone using polyethylene tubing.
The new system, along with other innovations in irrigation technology, are helping farmers conserve water while applying management practices that improve crop production. Technology is also playing a bigger role each year in irrigation, such as connecting a control panel wirelessly to a computer or smartphone so the operator can manage the system remotely.
While companies such as Western Irrigation have been installing SDI systems throughout the Great Plains, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been researching SDI systems throughout the state.