The latest information on irrigation technology will be presented by University of Tennessee ag researchers at the July 24 Milan No-Till Field Day.

“There’s a lot of interest in managing how water is applied to crops,” says Chris Bridges, research associate, UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan. “We also know that different parts of a field need different amounts of water, based on soil type, crop needs, and other issues.”

Bridges, along with other researchers at the AgResearch Center at Milan, have been testing a Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) system. It’s one of the first of its kind in the state. VRI allows users to customize water application based on topography information, soil data maps, yield data and other user-defined information.

When using VRI, farmers have the ability to “turn on” and “turn off” different sections of an irrigation pivot as it moves across a field, so they can apply water only where it needs to be. Users can also adjust irrigation rates by changing the speed of the pivot. Once the VRI hardware and software are installed, these changes can quickly be made from an office computer or wireless device.

At the Milan No-Till Field Day, an entire tour will be devoted to variable rate irrigation. Justin Miller with Tennessee Tractor will discuss VRI options for center pivots and demonstrate the devices on the AgResearch Center’s pivot. Brian Leib, associate professor, UT Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science (BESS) will give a perspective on VRI in Tennessee, and Shawn Hawkins, associate professor, UT Department of BESS will cover variable speed pumps and pumping costs.

Attendees should board the designated bus in the tent area to take the VRI Tour. Buses leave every 20 minutes beginning at 7 a.m. Field Day registration opens at 6 a.m.

The Milan No-Till Field Day begins at 7 a.m. on Thursday, July 24, at the AgResearch and Education Center at Milan. There is no cost to attend. For directions to the site, and to see the complete field day program, go to or call (731) 686-7362.