Netafim USA, Sustainable Conservation Join Forces On SDI Solution

As California¹s historic drought persists, dairy farmers in the nation¹s top dairy producing state are increasingly looking to subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) technology as a solution for maximizing the water productivity and yield potential of their forage crops. While the water-saving and productivity benefits of SDI are well documented, the challenges for dairy producers in utilizing naturally produced, nutrient-rich liquid manure as a forage crop fertilizer has limited wider adoption of SDI.

Recognizing the need to develop a drip irrigation solution that meets the needs of today¹s dairy farmers, Netafim USA and Sustainable Conservation teamed up in 2014 to develop an SDI solution that enables the consistent and reliable application of liquid manure as a nutrient-rich fertilizer.

“Historically, the drip irrigation industry has struggled with finding the right combination of filtration, mixture control and application technology that enables a dairy farmer to use an SDI system to apply naturally produced dairy wastewater as a fertilizer for their forage crops,” said Todd Rinkenberger, Netafim USA¹s Director of Sales, West Region. “Through our partnership with Sustainable Conservation and De Jager Farms, we have been able to make significant progress in developing the technology that not only increases water use efficiency and yield, but also provides dairy farmers with a reliable system for applying naturally produced dairy wastewater to forage crops.”

The innovative SDI system uses advanced filtration and proprietary methodology developed by Netafim that blends dairy wastewater with fresh water at precisely the right ratio by monitoring the electrical conductivity (EC) in the water as it passes by a sensor. As the EC of the water changes, the system controller makes real-time adjustments to the blending valves in order to keep the fertilizer mixture at a constant state as it is delivered to the plant¹s roots though drip irrigation tubing buried below the surface.

The groundbreaking technology was developed as part of a 2-year joint research study conducted at De Jager Farms in Chowchilla, CA. The study utilized two adjacent plots at De Jager Farms, both under a strip-till corn/no-till winter forage rotation. Each was equipped with a Netafim SDI system to deliver water and nutrients to the plant¹s root zone. The first plot received nutrients in the form of synthetic fertilizer, and the second plot received nutrient-rich dairy wastewater taken from the De Jager Farms dairy center. Throughout the project period, researchers from Sustainable Conservation gathered and analyzed data on crop performance, soil health, and water savings to better determine the system¹s effectiveness.

“We approached Netafim with the idea that drip irrigation could be used as a production tool to manage some of the regulatory issues that dairy farmers come up against in dealing with their wastewater,” said John Cardoza, Project Manager for Sustainable Conservation. “We are confident that we are well on our way to removing a major roadblock to the adoption of SDI by demonstrating that, with the right technology, SDI is a very efficient method for applying nutrient-rich water to forage crops.”

In addition to its ability to deliver nutrient-rich water to a crop, SDI has also shown to have a positive impact on the health of groundwater supply. “The use of SDI shows great promise as a system for reducing nitrate leaching, and the water-efficiency of the system results in farmers needing to pump less groundwater for irrigation purposes,” added Cardoza.

Analysis of the data is ongoing, but preliminary results are very positive according to De Jager Farm Manager, Nate Ray.

“It¹s a game changer for drip irrigation and it is a game changer for the way in which we apply our dairy wastewater,” said Ray. “We’ve reduced our overall water use on the test plot by 30% in one year and the yield per acre has improved by about 20%.”

But according to Ray, the numbers do not tell the whole story.

“When you walk through these fields you¹ll see a healthier, stronger plant when compared to our conventionally flood irrigated fields. We were surprised to see such a stark difference,” added Ray. “And, the digestibility was much better with the dairy wastewater fed silage than with the conventional.”

Netafim USA and Sustainable Conservation expect to begin making the technology available to dairy farmers beginning in 2016.

Project and system photos are available upon request.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Netafim USA, Sustainable Conservation Join Forces On SDI Solution

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
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
PA Special Report Enterprise
Decision Support SoftwareSpecial Report: Enterprise Management Systems
June 7, 2017
A functional and stable software system can allow a retail operation to run at maximum efficiency, build customer loyalty and Read More
Farming big data style
ProfessionalsAre You REALLY a Precision Farming #Agvocate? This Summ…
June 6, 2017
Go Feed Yourself. That’s the catchphrase of my favorite ag Twitter personality, Shark Farmer (@sf28430), who besides bringing plenty of Read More