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
Delicato Family Vineyards, Manteca, CA.
Precision IrrigationDelicato Family Vineyards: Integrating Ag Tech from Soil to Glass
June 4, 2017
Tucked away amidst the softly rolling green hills of California’s uber-productive Central Coast Valley, Delicato Family Vineyards (DFV) is quite Read More
Valley Irrigation 8000 series corn
Precision IrrigationValley Irrigation Now Exclusive OEM Provider of Trimble’s Irrigate-IQ
March 21, 2017
Valley Irrigation and Trimble announced that Valley Irrigation will become the exclusive OEM distributor of Trimble’s Irrigate-IQ precision irrigation solution, according Read More
Precision IrrigationGrowingProduce.com: Smart Vineyards Set to Revolutionize Wine-making
February 17, 2017
Phil Asmundson is by no means a veteran viticulturist, but a half-dozen years ago, after watching his wife and business Read More
InternationalPrecision Irrigation Company Hortau Makes THRIVE Top 50 Growth Rankings
February 2, 2017
Hortau, a provider of precision irrigation management systems and services for agriculture since 2002, continues its rapid growth heading into Read More
Trending Articles
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
EventsPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Gavin Newsom Forbes AgTech-Summit
ProfessionalsAgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
June 12, 2017
THRIVE AgTech, in partnership with SVG Partners and Forbes, is hosting the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit June 28-29 in Read More
Quantix Drone Farmer
DronesTop 10 Most Intriguing Technologies in Agriculture
June 3, 2017
This may be a bit of stating the obvious here, but we’ll throw it out there anyways: as much as Read More
Farming iPad
Data ManagementOpinion: ROI or Die in Precision Agriculture
May 12, 2017
The thought of $3.50 corn for the foreseeable future seems pretty disheartening. However, if you look at the precision ag Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementQ&A: What BASF’s Latest Foray into Precision Ag Means For Growers
May 11, 2017
In late April, BASF agreed to acquire U.S. precision ag player ZedX, a leader in the development of agronomic weather, Read More
Mung beans Australia
InternationalPrecision Ag in a Tough Season in Australia
May 8, 2017
This year’s summer crop season has been a tough one for most growers in Australia. Prolonged periods of high temperatures Read More
Latest News
Ag Retailer and Growers with tablet WinField United
Grower Services & SolutionsWinField Adds AkerScout App to Answer Tech
June 27, 2017
As farmers and retailers, we know it’s important to have the latest news and insights about tools that can make Read More
Data ManagementCDMS Announces SeedIQ Acquisition
June 26, 2017
Crop Data Management Systems, Inc., (CDMS) announces the acquisition of SeedIQ as part of its growth plan to provide complete Read More
Cotton closeup
Imagery/SensingCotton Growth Management with Precision Agriculture
June 20, 2017
A cotton crop presents some important differences to other commodities that are widely produced in Brazil, such as soybean and Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsCNBC: Inside Amazon’s Whole Foods Takeover
June 20, 2017
Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods sent the stock of competing grocery chains plummeting. To understand why, you need to know Read More
DronesNavigating a New World: Drone Technology in Agriculture…
June 20, 2017
My first exposure to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was as a master’s student at Kansas State University. I was researching Read More
Precision Ag Innovation Series
EventsInnovation Series Agenda Zeroes In On Maximizing Key Se…
June 14, 2017
In a recent survey of service providers conducted by PrecisionAg® Professional magazine, more than seven in 10 indicated that variable Read More
Soil Scientists
Data ManagementAccessing USDA Soil Data for Precision Farming
June 13, 2017
Many precision farming websites have integrated the USDA NRCS soil survey database using the USDA Soil Data Access web portal. Read More
GEOSYS In-Season Imagery
Decision Support SoftwareGeosys Announces Imagery and Weather Data Offering
June 13, 2017
Geosys, a provider of agronomic decision support tools, today launched Geosys Labs, a new program that will make its global Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
EventsPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Decision Support SoftwareMyriad Mobile Raises $1.5 Million to Launch New Ag-Tech…
June 12, 2017
Myriad Mobile, a software technology company focused on mobile and web applications, has raised $1.5 million in a Pre-Series A Read More
center-pivot-irrigation-drop-sprinklers-on-corn
Variable Rate ApplicationVariable-Rate Fertigation Can Be Simple
June 12, 2017
A rule is a rule is a rule, right? Well, not always. Sometimes, rules are meant to be changed. Most Read More
Gavin Newsom Forbes AgTech-Summit
ProfessionalsAgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
June 12, 2017
THRIVE AgTech, in partnership with SVG Partners and Forbes, is hosting the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit June 28-29 in Read More
Sensors/IoTLeveraging IoT to Improve Data Collection for Agricultu…
June 12, 2017
Between population growth and climate change, farms of all sizes are being challenged to increase yields. Internet of Things (IoT) Read More
DronesAg Drone Update: The Hunt for 1,000 (OPINION)
June 10, 2017
Having obtained my FAA Part 107 Commercial Drone Operators license back in September of last year, I’ve spent the past Read More
Industry NewsMergers & Acquisitions: Land O’Lakes Tosses E…
June 9, 2017
Land O’Lakes has made a minority equity investment in EFC Systems, an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and precision solution provider Read More
Mixmate-featured-image
Decision Support SoftwareHandy Software, Hardware for the Field
June 7, 2017
More than two decades ago, Iowa grower Doug Applegate wished for a “little portable chemical blending system” that could easily Read More
Decision Support SoftwareHarnessing A Team To Build Your Own Software
June 7, 2017
What’s a powerhouse retail network to do when it can’t find a software system to meet incredibly diverse needs? Build Read More
Tim Ferrell Marshall County Co-op
Decision Support SoftwareWhen It’s Time To Switch Software
June 7, 2017
No one in their right mind wants to change software. That’s the opinion of Tim Ferrell, manager of Marshall County Read More