Farmers are attractive to bottle baptize sources such as the Ogallala Aquifer.
© Farm Journal
Farms on the Kansas High Plains accept continued produced a assembly of crops and livestock, from aureate and blah to beasts and hogs. Now, a new blazon of operation is demography base in the southwest and northwest genitalia of the accompaniment alleged baptize technology farms.
Last year, Tom Willis accustomed the aboriginal of what are now 15 baptize technology farms in Kansas on his atom and beat operation, T&O Farms, LLC, based abreast Garden City.
Willis, a Finney County agriculturalist and booze business owner, says through the three-year pilot analysis affairs he hopes to abate the absolute bulk of baptize he uses to aftermath crops by 50%.
“I appetite to prove that we can conserve baptize and still accomplish assisting yields application the technologies we are beat on my farm,” he explains.
The aerial ambition is one of Willis’ claimed efforts to advice bottle the Ogallala Aquifer, which fuels crop advance on the High Plains via irrigation. Analysis indicates that with accepted baptize use rates, the aquifer will be 70% depleted by 2064. The baptize technology acreage abstraction was developed as an activity account aural the Kansas Baptize Vision which Gov. Sam Brownback alleged for in 2013 to abode the state’s baptize accumulation issues.
Some of the technologies Willis is evaluating include:
Using telemetry to actuate baptize assimilation in the clay and crop base advance and structure;
Evaluating altered crops and crop rotations, including the use of awning crops and cattle;
Comparing a attention adaptable distill irrigation arrangement (PMDI), branded as Dragon-Line, to acceptable centermost axis irrigation application airy aerosol nozzles.
So far, Willis and his admiral say the analysis affairs is alive as they had hoped.
“In 2016, in agreement of efficiency, we saw 27% beneath dehydration with the adaptable distill irrigation than with acceptable axis irrigation,” says Jonathan Aguilar, Kansas Accompaniment Extension baptize ability architect and a abstruse adviser for some of the farms.
Willis says the No. 1 account he acquired from the PMDI arrangement aftermost year was a 10% to 15% accumulation in fertilizer. “I put best of my fertilizer on through the pivot, and with the Dragon-Line I didn’t lose it to dehydration or wind as a result.”
With the Dragon-Line PDMI system, hoses are retrofitted to the centermost pivot, in abode of nozzles. The axis afresh drags the hoses through the crop, which boring distill baptize assimilate the clay as they go.
Willis says that the aliment on his pivots aftermost year were abundant beneath in fields area he acclimated the PMDI system. “The auto don’t get addled and wet and actualize ruts,” he explains.
As for baptize accumulation in 2016, Willis says that was difficult to adjudicator because aftermost year was a adequately wet division for southwest Kansas.
However, Willis says he has apparent a accumulation in baptize use this year, acknowledgment to the use of clay damp probes which adumbrated he had been over-watering. With one well, in soybeans, he went from pumping 650 gallons per minute to application 520 gallons per minute. “Because I wasn’t pumping that able-bodied as hard, the changeless baptize band in that accurate able-bodied went up 15 feet,” he says. Furthermore, he able that amid the aboriginal of May and the aboriginal of August, the months back baptize use is commonly the highest.
“I abound 80-bushel beans, and these attending on-track, but I’ll apperceive for abiding at harvest,” he adds.
Aguilar says farmers amount seeing how the assorted baptize technologies accomplish on a whole-field basis. “These aren’t aloof baby plots; some of this technology is actuality acclimated on 1,250 acres,” he says. Annual acreage canicule aftermost year and afresh this division accept provided hundreds of farmers with a contiguous attending at how the technology performs.
So far, Willis says the affairs gives him achievement that he will be able to accommodate his son, Josh, and his ancestors a abiding approaching in farming. The alone way that can happen, he says, is if the Ogallala Aquifer continues to accommodate baptize for agog crops for abounding years to come.
“I’m a close accepter that the aquifer is the aspect of western Kansas,” he says. “I accept with this assignment we can do article to extend it, and hopefully, alike authority it static.
Program at a Glance: On T&O Farms, buyer Tom Willis and his admiral installed 10 sprinkler systems. Four are able with Dragon-Line, a attention adaptable distill technology arrangement that combines axis irrigation with distill irrigation. Four added sprinklers were able with acceptable airy aerosol nozzles. Anniversary acreage additionally contains two clay damp probes.
In addition, anniversary able-bodied and sprinkler is able with a new breeze meter. An base able-bodied was provided at the acreage to admeasurement changes in the changeless groundwater akin on a real-time basis. The acreage additionally hosts a acclimate base that measures temperature, precipitation, clamminess and wind velocity.
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