2018 Agricultural Water Use Demonstrations

Contact: Kirk Welch, 806-935-6401 or kwelch@northplainsgcd.org

With the 2018 growing season marking the first year ever that cotton acres outnumbered corn acres planted on the North Plains, demonstrations at the North Plains Water Conservation Center (WCC) will focus more on data related to cotton production.

In response to the expansion of cotton acres in the district, demonstrations at the North Plains Water Conservation Center focus more on cotton production and water use, compared to the corn focus of past demonstrations.

In response to the expansion of cotton acres in the district, demonstrations at the North Plains Water Conservation Center focus more on cotton production and water use, compared to the corn focus of past demonstrations.

Specifically, the district is presenting a side-by-side comparison of crop water use and yield data for a cotton crop and a corn crop, using the latest center pivot technology and sub-surface drip (SDI) systems. To accomplish this comparative demonstration, the east 120-acre circle and the north 20-acre field of SDI was planted in cotton, while the west 80-acre circle and the south 20-acre field of SDI was planted in corn. Both pivots employ Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) on 4-year old Reinke center pivots with drops no more than 18 inches above the ground. Bubbler-type nozzles were used on the east pivot, while a shroud-type nozzle was used on the west pivot.

At the time of this writing irrigation has stopped and harvest has begun at the WCC. Plant populations, fertilizer, irrigation and rainfall have been monitored throughout the season and a full report on findings will be presented once harvest is completed.

Other demonstrations conducted by the district this year include on-farm weather stations, a strip-till and no-till comparison, and a cover crop demonstration. Since it is the first year for these demonstrations, valuable baseline information will be gathered this year with the expectation of more conclusive data in the future. For more information on the district’s demonstrations visit our website at www.northplainsgcd.org.