What is in this article?:
- Three tools for better furrow irrigation
- Surge valves, timing
- Mississippi State University irrigation specialist speaks on how Mid-South producers can improve watering practices.
- Spoke at the 2014 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show.
Across the Mid-South, much of the farmland is irrigated the same way and Jason Krutz isn’t terribly impressed.
“It’s really kind of Stone Age,” said the Mississippi State University irrigation specialist at the 2014 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show. “I was asked by MSU to make our farmers better furrow irrigators because that’s how 80 percent of Mississippi’s acreage gets water. Arkansas has more pivots along with Louisiana.
“However, since so many furrow irrigate, that’ll be my primary topic.”
Mid-South producers have three tools that will allow for better furrow irrigation. “There is potential for you to redeem irrigation capacity, potentially use less water – which means using less diesel – and maybe cut better yields.”
The programs take into account things that affect pressure polypipe and dimensions of a field so water will hit the tail ditch at the same time. The information needed includes things like flow-rate of the well, the slope of the land and the actual dimensions of the field.
“Put those into the computer program and it’ll provide what size hole needs to be punched down the pipe.”
When MSU researchers tested this, “they did so over three years in multiple locations. On a regularly shaped field, the computer program usually means using 20 percent less water and takes 20 percent less time for the water to get across…
“By sitting down with us for about 30 minutes -- the amount of time it usually takes to teach a producer how to use PHAUCET -- it can save you between $10 and $25 per acre. There are consultants and private sector folks that will set your farm up on PHAUCET for about $8 per acre.”
Delta Plastics’ Pipe Planner does the same thing as PHAUCET, said Krutz. “The difference is the interface is more user-friendly and there’s a fee associated with it.
“The fees make a lot of people flinch. But think about it. On a regular-shaped field, you’ll save about $10 per acre. So, if you pay someone $8 to set it up, you’re still $2 ahead. Then, the following year, you get the whole $10 in savings. The more irregular-shaped fields mean even more savings.”