Water – no crop can live without it. Even so, there’s still much to learn about proper management of this resource, according to officials at Beck’s. That has prompted the seed company to launch a new water manager study at its Practical Farm Research (PFR) site in Effingham, Ill.
“We hope that the various water management components of this research will help farmers understand the potential yield gains that could be achieved with proper drainage and effective irrigation solutions,” says Ryan McAllister, PFR director for Beck’s.
Jason Webster, PFR innovation lead with Beck’s, says water is often a limiting factor in the Midwest, especially in southern Illinois, where many farmers have assumed that installing tile in silt loam soils is not profitable.
“The reality, however, is that late-season rainfall typically makes or breaks the yield potential for the growing season,” he says. “We are excited to conduct this study on behalf of farmers to help them understand the benefits of various types of drainage and irrigation, and the substantial impact on yield and profit it could have.
Specifically, Beck’s plans to test tile widths of 60, 30 and 15 feet at 24-inch and 36-inch depths. The site will also see installation of drip tape and an overhead irrigation system to test various techniques.
The week of March 6-12 also marks National Groundwater Awareness Week. In commemoration, the National Ground Water Association is heightening its education efforts with some online resources including state-by-state look at groundwater use and a list of groundwater facts and figures.
According to the NGWA, the U.S. uses 76 billion gallons of groundwater each day. Of that, 65% goes toward agricultural irrigation. Another nearly 4% goes toward livestock and aquaculture production.