LINCOLN — Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) is gaining traction in the industry and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program has acknowledged this by adding an SDI competition for 2019.
Daran Rudnick, UNL irrigation management specialist, said “Subsurface drip irrigation for row crop production is expanding across the Central Plains for numerous reasons, including high irrigation application efficiency, low energy consumption, ability to accommodate irregularly shaped fields, and effectiveness for delivering crop nutrients, which can help mitigate potential nutrient losses.”
Eco-Drip of Hastings donated, designed, and installed an SDI system for use in the TAPS Farm Management Competition at the West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte.
“SDI is relatively new to most growers in Nebraska and we would like them to become more aware and comfortable with the technology,” said Colby Gardine, Eco-Drip branch manager. Eco-Drip also would like growers to better understand the many benefits that an SDI system can provide.
Rudnick added, “Management of SDI systems can be considerably different than alternative systems, due to typically higher flexibility in irrigation cycling (i.e., frequency and duration) and delivery of fertilizers/chemicals. The development of an SDI TAPS Farm Management Competition will allow existing SDI producers to evaluate their management strategies against their peers and University recommendations. It also will provide an opportunity for producers interested in adopting SDI to demonstrate and learn how to manage it prior to adopting it on their own farms.”
The 2019 TAPS Farm Management Competition will start Tuesday, March 12 with a meeting at 5 p.m. at the Bayer Crop Science Water Utilization Learning Center in Gothenburg.
The Bayer Crop Science Water Utilization Learning Center has conducted extensive research using SDI for row crop production. As weather permits, attendees will be able to tour the learning center as well as hear a presentation on the findings of their ongoing research.
Gardine noted that Eco-Drip is looking forward to gaining insight into many aspects of the SDI technology and the use of it “as a fertilizer management tool.”
“We hope to gain a better understanding of how to increase productivity while decreasing fertilizer inputs with both macro and micro nutrients,” Gardine added. The use of other technologies along with SDI also will be valuable, he said.
The kick-off meeting will include a dinner and presentation on the rules, regulations, and general process of the UNL-TAPS competitions. All three competitions — sprinkler corn, sprinkler sorghum, and SDI corn — will be discussed relative to what management decisions need to be made, the general timeline, and the available technology.
To attend this meeting, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.