There are many reasons why growers initiate early season irrigation.  Activation and incorporation of dry fertilizers and herbicides have been one motivating factor this year.  This year, it appears, growers are getting more familiar with utilizing soil moisture sensors as a management tool to trigger irrigation.  Soil moisture sensors play an important role in allowing a grower to monitor soil moisture and root growth development.  Growers are understanding that each day they put off an irrigation event is one day closer to a possible rain event.  Grower confidence in soil moisture sensor data is growing.

Since 2012, when the Irrigation Team started the RISER program research, annually we have had a dry period in early to mid May. Each year, in our RISER trials, the soil moisture sensors data has assisted us in managing our irrigation decision.  Knowing the actual soil moisture content within the active rooting zone has allowed us to delay that first irrigation event.  Each year, we have received a timely rainfall event prior to irrigating.

We have compiled irrigation sensor data from our trial work and grower fields for the date of May 26th. Remember, irrigation trigger thresholds are 90cb-100cb prior to V14 in corn and 80cb-90cb prior to R3 in soybeans.  The results are quite amazing. Only one location was at threshold levels prior to the Memorial Day weekend rainfall events.

As always, if we can be of any assistance in implementing and interpenetrating soil moisture sensors information you can reach Dr. Krutz at 6625888974. Link to article

Original Post by Jason Krutz, Irrigation Specialist and Dan Roach, Ext. Associate
June 3, 2016 10:02