At the recent Holdrege Water Conference in Nebraska, several speakers talked about how precision technology is not only conserving water but saving growers money as well, according to this Nebraska TV report.
It really is a big money-saver,” said UNL Extension Educator Chuck Burr. “Several years ago, we had some irrigators figure out how much it costs them to make a circle, or put an inch of water on 130 acres. That can range from $600 to $1200 every time they apply an inch of water to that field. So if they can reduce a couple applications, you’re talking a couple thousand dollars for every pivot.”
The cost of pumping goes down, and so do labor and gas costs.
“With the new technology, [farmers] can sit at their computers and make sure the pivot is still
working,” Burr said. “If there is a problem, then they can drive specifically to that pivot.”
The experts say, irrigation technology helps more crops grow better. “Let’s say I have a field that has two different types of soil,” said Burr, “those soil types may require more different amount of water applied during the irrigation season.”
“We’re able to vary the speed that they run,” added Thorburn, “so that we can adjust them for different soil types. Sandy soils need more water than heavier soils.”
More efficient use of land and water means a brighter tomorrow. “Apply water just when it’s needed,” Thorburn said, “the better we are able to conserve that resource for the future.”