Online Tool for Corn Growers
An interactive website from the National Corn Growers Association helps producers make the most of their water supply. The goal of the 30-minute water issues course is to help farmers learn more about industry challenges, advancements and best management practices for a sustainable future, says Dean Taylor, chair of the association’s production and stewardship action team. Topics discussed in the tool include how America uses water; paying for irrigation; the eight major elements of the Clean Water Act; point-source and nonpoint-source pollution; soil, nutrient, pesticide, herbicide and irrigation management; technical advancements; and much more.
To walk through the narrated learning module, visit http://water.ncga.com.
Duo Links Real-Time Monitoring
A partnership between two technology companies aims to help farmers manage their irrigation in real time. The relationship integrates the AgStudio suite of precision agronomy software from MapShots of Cumming, Ga., with the WagNet cloud-based wireless network from AgSense of Huron, S.D. With the partnership, farmers can monitor pivots and various field sensors supported by WagNet. The tools also allow farmers to keep track of machine health and watering records for agronomic analysis. Customers of both AgSense and MapShots can take advantage of the collaboration by requesting that their WagNet irrigation data be integrated with their AgStudio software and services. For more, visit www.mapshots.com and www.agsense.net.
Portable Pivot Power
Trailer-mounted irrigation power units from Mastry Engine Center allow producers to easily move pivot controls among various locations. That’s particularly important in the Southeast, where farmers are increasingly switching from cotton to corn and therefore rely more heavily on irrigation.
"Corn and other grains can consume as much as 0.30" of water per day at peak growth time," says John Flake, general manager, New Market Agricultural Equipment Company in Alabama.
The irrigation units range from 8.5 kW to 17.5 kW and are powered with a Yanmar diesel engine. Standard features include a battery rack, cables, an engine panel with automatic shutdown and a muffler. Options include a weather hood; oil drain valve; Cornell or Berkeley pumps; fuel tank, drum and base; PTO and clutches; Berkeley suction flanges and discharge prime valves; Murphy oil level and coolant level-sight gauges; and an HP9/HP900 hand primer. Various unit sizes are available, and generators also come in skid-mounted and side-mounted configurations. MasPower irrigation pumps and generator sets range from $3,500 to $18,750. For more, visit www.mastry.com.
Study: Cut Aquifer Use to Sustain Ag
Reducing groundwater pumping for agricultural production by 20% to 80% would help stem the rapid depletion of the High Plains Aquifer in western Kansas, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The vast Ogallala Aquifer is part of the High Plains Aquifer, which could begin recharging naturally at about the 80% reduction level. The High Plains Aquifer supplies 30% of the irrigated groundwater in the U.S., and 30% of it has already been pumped, the study says. Another 39% of the aquifer will be depleted in the next 50 years, given current trends.
Using a set of "hypothetical yet realistic scenarios," the researchers demonstrated that while corn and cattle production will likely decrease in the short-term, "net production forecasts increase as the result of future improvements in water use efficiency." Researchers calculated median production through the year 2110. "The future is bright in the near term but bleak beyond, and increased agricultural production may be realized before imminent reductions occur," the researchers wrote.