CropMetrics: Here’s 3 Steps To Avoid Field Runoff In 2015

Field runoff is a problem that everyone is concerned with – including precision irrigation outfits like CropMetrics – but I would venture to say that no one is more concerned about it than the producer who is paying to grow the crop on these fields. Obviously they need fertilizers and chemicals to grow a productive crop and it is no secret that runoff carries away nutrients and chemicals into regions where they were never intended to go. Because of this expense, producers will never intentionally run off water, but in some instances it seems that there is really nothing that can be done to prevent this runoff.

As a society we rely on these producers to provide us with the food and nutrients we need on a daily basis. So what can we do? Is there really anything we can do to help reduce or eliminate runoff? What if I could offer three different options for the irrigated acre that would greatly reduce or eliminate runoff caused by irrigation while greatly reducing runoff caused by rainfall? Are you interested? If so, continue reading below:

  1. Runoff caused by rainfall is nearly impossible to manage. It is worse when the fields are already wet when it does rain. This increases not only runoff but nitrogen leaching as well. With VO Pro from CropMetrics producers will have the most precise irrigation scheduling tool available today, claims the company in a recent blog post. Providing a local field specific weather forecast along with a field specific irrigation forecast, preparing for rain is greatly enhanced without risking additional stress to your crops. Knowing your local field specific forecast and the precise development stage of your crop, decisions to irrigate differently or not at all will be easier to make. Leaving room in the profile to absorb water will greatly reduce runoff on irrigated fields. Prior to VO Pro, this type of opportunity has been unavailable to producers, leaving them with only high risk guessing games. Because the risk was so high, producers would continue to irrigate and rightfully so. The risk of not catching a rain has always been high and getting behind with irrigation is just not an option. VO Pro is the first of its kind to give the confidence on irrigated fields to take advantage of rainfall and reduce runoff. This is really the first step needed to enhance the next two runoff reduction options.
  2. As we all know, tillage practices make quite a bit of difference in water infiltration and runoff. No till has proven to be the best in most cases but is it always the best for maximum yield and profit opportunity? The one thing that we do know is that residue in and on the topsoil reduces runoff. So with that in mind we need to look at the way we manage our surface profiles. In recent years strip till has helped to improve soil conditions in many areas yet in other areas in different soil types, with different topography variability, it may not be the best answer either. Minimum till or vertical till programs seem to work pretty well as they do a good job of chopping up the residue yet leaving the residue on the surface to capture water and hold nutrients. In these conditions evaporation loss is also lessened so water use efficiency is enhanced. But if it is a wet spring or early summer the risk of disease is higher. Therefore managing irrigation timing and application depth will greatly help to reduce wet topsoil’s that lead to increased disease pressure and ultimately increased runoff. So it will be important to make sure and weigh out the risk associated with making a tillage practice change to reduce runoff. It would be our recommendation that you take the time to meet with your local agronomist and CropMetrics Precision Data Specialist (PDS) to make sure your soil types and field conditions are optimized to get the most return to your input investment. If you do decide to make a change from conventional tillage to minimum till, strip till, or no-till, be prepared to do some intense research in your area and make sure the investment in equipment, learning curves, input adjustment requirements, etc. will be profitable at the end of the year.
  3. Irrigation Runoff Control Scripts (RCS) provide tremendous improvement to runoff problems associated with center pivot irrigation. These VRI scripts are designed to allow a grower to not only do a better job of irrigating the majority of the field, it is designed to take those slopes into account that have caused him to run low application rate rotations in the past. Lets look at a very typical example found in central Nebraska where topography and heavier soils are common causes for irrigation runoff.

In many areas growers are applying low application rates of water because the slopes will not allow them to put on more than .60″ of water in any pass. This greatly limits the opportunity to apply higher rates in other areas of the the field to increase application efficiency (AE). RCS will allow producers to put on higher rates in the good areas of the fields while speeding up going down the slopes. Obviously speeding up going down the slopes will reduce runoff but won’t it decrease yield at the same time? Yes! Therefore we design the pivot to auto-reverse and go back across the slope in the other direction with the same low application rate of water giving the soil time to infiltrate. Three short applications of about .35″ will not run off but if applied in a short amount of time will actually allow the soil to intake nearly .90″ of water into the slopes even after evaporation! Now consider each time the pivot goes around we put on a 1″ base rate instead of .60″ like we had to normally and at the end of a 10″ application season you will save 6 total rotations. That is a lot of reduced wear and tear. Not to mention since AE will improve producers could essentially eliminate one complete rotation for every 10 rotations made while increasing yields in the slopes. This is a win no matter how you look at it!

It is important to note that the three topics we just covered will help decrease run off individually. But it’s the combination of these systems that will bring the best results. True solutions to water issues will never just be a one piece fix all solution. Irrigation efficiency and water optimization is a mindset and a lifestyle that will become a passion once results are truly realized. To begin implementing these solutions on your farm, contact your local CropMetrics Dealer.

SOURCE: CropMetrics April E-Newsletter.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “CropMetrics: Here’s 3 Steps To Avoid Field Runoff In 2015

Precision Irrigation Stories
Precision Irrigation
Data ManagementAgGateway Submits Irrigation Data Standard to ASABE
March 19, 2018
AgGateway has submitted its proposed irrigation data exchange standard to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), a Read More
Precision IrrigationLindsay Event Puts Focus on Precision Irrigation and Smart Farming Practices
March 7, 2018
Lindsay Corp., a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, today hosted Water Matters 3.6.18 Read More
Precision IrrigationLindsay Introduces New, Improved FieldNET App
February 27, 2018
Lindsay Corp., a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, has launched a new and Read More
India-Farm-Irrigation
AsiaCloud-based Irrigation Could Double India’s Crop Yield and Halve Water Use
February 12, 2018
A cloud-based, micro-irrigation system tested on a farm in India has cut water use by up to 80%  and doubled Read More
Trending Articles
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Services
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Robotics/Labor SaversSpecialty Crops: Get in Gear Now for Agriculture’s Robotic Revolution
April 11, 2018
While the immigration debate rages on in Washington, DC, with little chance for reform in sight, the uncertain labor picture Read More
InSiteDCM
Business ManagementDelivering on Ag Data Value
April 3, 2018
Bruce Baier is another deeply experienced precision agriculture manager who survived the early years of ag technology while riding the Read More
University-of-Georgia-photo-credit-USDA
Business Management25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture
March 21, 2018
Choosing the right college is a process. It’s one that I’m just now embarking on with my teenage daughter. Long Read More
Farmer-tablet
Decision Support SoftwareOpinion: The Missing Link in Precision Agriculture
March 15, 2018
The agtech boom over the last two years is indeed astonishing. Farmers are becoming more open to new, emerging technologies Read More
Filling The Planter from Cab
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture: What is it?
March 15, 2018
If we look at the title of the article, all of you will come to an answer. These answers will Read More
Latest News
Industry NewsClimate Corp Announces 5 New FieldView Integrations
April 23, 2018
The Climate Corporation announced the addition of five industry-leading partners to The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform. The Read More
Laura_Crook_WinterWheat_Blackgrass_PrecisionAg
Industry NewsKansas Software Outfit Ag Developer Announces agX Integ…
April 23, 2018
Ag Developer, a Kansas based software development company, is simplifying grower/advisor communications by connecting to the agX Platform, according to Read More
field_in_back_1000_wd-featured-image
Industry NewsAyrstone Introduces High-Speed WiFi System for Farms
April 20, 2018
WiFi has become a necessity, and a proliferation of new WiFi devices have come to market for urban homes and Read More
Indian-Agriculture
AsiaIndian IoT Platform for Pre and Post Harvest Raises See…
April 19, 2018
Indian startup AgNext has raised an undisclosed seed round led by India-focused Agtech VC Omnivore Partners along with Singaporean angel Read More
Bayer-Forward-Farming
Industry NewsMaryland Farm Opens as Hub of Learning about Sustainabl…
April 19, 2018
Fourth-generation Maryland farmer Trey Hill measures the success of his operation not just by how many bushels of corn, soybeans, Read More
THRIVE
Industry NewsAgritech Startup Backers Announce New Corporate Partner…
April 18, 2018
Entering its fourth year, the THRIVE Venture & Innovation platform announced today the nine finalists and investment in its spring Read More
computer-in-field
EventsFinding Our Way in the Business of Precision Agricultur…
April 17, 2018
Service providers are the essential link between precision agriculture products and practices and the farmers who are increasingly relying on Read More
Farm-Storm-Clouds-Photo-Eden-Hills
Data ManagementThe Precipitation Problem in Agriculture
April 17, 2018
Precipitation is arguably the most important agricultural weather parameter, yet it is the most difficult variable to precisely measure. For Read More
Digital-Farming
Business Management7 Factors That Could Make or Break Digital Farming
April 13, 2018
Digital farming is the new technology genie – a genie that is now out of the bottle and cannot be Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Serv…
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
Facebook-phone
Data ManagementWhat Lessons Can the Ag Industry Learn from the Faceboo…
April 12, 2018
Today, a seemingly endless amount of ag data flows from growers’ fields into a host of technology platforms. It is Read More
DronesWhen High Value Crops Meet Inaccessible Areas: How Dron…
April 12, 2018
Avocados are one of the few crops in Chile that can economically be commercially cultivated on hills. On one hand Read More
Almond-trees-blooming
Sensors/IoTWhy Virtual Sensors Could Save California’s At-Ri…
April 12, 2018
To say that the Golden State can lay claim to the title of king of almonds might be an understatement. Read More
AgJunction, InfoAg 2014, Autosteer, GPS
Industry NewsAgJunction Launches Online Store, Low Cost Guidance Sys…
April 12, 2018
AgJunction today announced the opening of the HandsFreeFarm.com online store to bring low-cost, simple-to-use precision agriculture solutions direct to all Read More
aggateway
Business ManagementAgGateway Encourages Use of Standard Identifiers with A…
April 11, 2018
AgGateway, the non-profit organization with the mission to promote and enable the industry’s transition to digital agriculture, is offering a Read More
Remote-Soil-Sensing-Mapping
Imagery/SensingRemote Soil Sensing Enhances Precision Farming, Promote…
April 11, 2018
Precision agriculture management requires understanding soil at increasingly finer scales. Conventional soil sampling and laboratory analyses often lack this granularity Read More
Data ManagementREPORT: Bayer’s Digital Farming Business Slated f…
April 11, 2018
Germany’s Bayer plans to sell its digital farming business to BASF as part of changes to concessions it has offered Read More
Corn
Industry NewsSentera Announces New FieldAgent Features
April 11, 2018
Sentera announces the availability of high-fidelity crop stand, weed pressure mapping, spot scouting maps, and free local image stitching within Read More