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Get the most out of your dollars when it comes to irrigation and nitrogen


The Irrigation Strategies Field Tour Series will focus on showing farmers and crop consultants management strategies to conserve water.

Even though the prices of fuel and nitrogen have dropped off a little this year, producers in Nebraska still are looking for better irrigation strategies to get the most from the water they have and the nitrogen they apply, said Steve Melvin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator.

"The primary focus is on working with producers and crop consultants to develop and demonstrate soil moisture monitoring equipment and irrigation scheduling strategies on farmer fields," he said.

Melvin hopes the series will make irrigation decisions as easy as keeping fuel in the tank using the fuel gauge.

Applying the optimum level of water is more important today than it has ever been. Applying excess water costs extra money, leaches nitrogen below the root zone, and can lower yields. Putting on too little water also will lower yields, he said.

The program will teach methods to get the most effective use out of irrigation water and energy dollars by focusing on lowering pumping plant energy costs and applying the optimum amount of water.

The field tour topics, which will vary by location, include: Water Resource Update; Comparing Irrigation Energy Sources: Costs and Emissions Requirements; Monitoring Crop Water Use and Soil Moisture Status - Simple, Durable, Accurate, and Economical Tools; Water Savings with Crop Residue Management; How the Amount of Water and Nitrogen Applied with a Center Pivot Affects Crop Yield; How to Get the Most from Your Nitrogen Dollar; Where Slow Release Nitrogen Fertilization Fits into Corn Production; Variable Rate Irrigation Equipment for Center Pivots; Predicting the Last Irrigation; and How Time of Application and Amount of Water Applied Affects Crop Yield.

Program speakers include Bill Kranz, irrigation specialist, Derrel Martin, UNL irrigation and water resources specialist, Steve Melvin, UNL Extension educator, Charles Shapiro, soils specialist, and Simon van Donk, UNL irrigation and water resources specialist.

For more information about the Irrigation Strategies Field Tour Series, contact Melvin at (308) 367-4424 or smelvin1@unl.edu

Tour sites and starting times include:

--Curtis area, Aug. 17, 6 p.m. The field is located from the intersection of Nebraska highway 23 and Center Street (flashing light in Curtis), 6 blocks north to dead end, turn east (right) a half block, then north (left) and follow the road 0.3 mile. Turn east into field road.

--Benkelman area, Aug. 18, 5 p.m. MDT. The field is located 6 miles west of the intersection of Nebraska Highway 61 and Road 712 (6 miles north of Benkelman). Turn north on to Avenue 332. The plot is three-fourths mile north on Avenue 332 on the east side of the road.

--Gothenburg area. Aug. 20, 6 p.m. The field is located 1.5 miles east of the intersection of Nebraska Highway 47 and Road 767/27th Street (north edge of Gothenburg). The plot is on the north side of road.

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