Understanding Irrigation Systems and New Technologies
Thursday, March 25, 2021
8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
This training began with a presentation to summarize key findings from a recent survey of agricultural producers in the Ogallala Aquifer region.
The presentation also reviewed the recent developments in irrigated acreage across Kansas, and irrigation technologies and management techniques currently in use. It touched on some basics such as crop water needs, scheduling tools such as K-State’s KanSched, soil moisture sensors and sprinkler packages.
There was a discussion about current levels of groundwater consumption in northwest Kansas, and concerns relative to the long-term feasibility of irrigated agriculture in the area. In order to extend the economic life of the aquifer and maintain the economic base of the region, groundwater water use reductions need to be implemented. Past economic studies differ in the calculated economic impact associated with groundwater use reductions. One high priority sub-area in northwest Kansas has recently mandated a reduction in groundwater use. Monitoring the Sheridan #6 Local Enhanced Management Area (LEMA) in real time will allow us to observe producer innovation aimed at maintaining revenues and disseminate these data to producers and stakeholders in other areas. The knowledge of how irrigated crop producers react to conservation policies will provide guidance on what is expected to happen in the future as groundwater supplies are diminished and/or conservation policies are implemented.