Archive for the ‘irrigation’ Category
Posted by romeethredge on April 3, 2015
Posted by romeethredge on January 20, 2015
In 2014 we had above average rainfall. But, looking only at the averages is deceiving. I know of several dryland fields that were not worth harvesting this year due to dry weather and the insect and fertility problems that come with dry weather. Why did we have extremely high expenses for irrigation and sleepless night checking on irrigation systems and maintaining them. How can that happen?
We need to remember that we are never very far from an agricultural drought, especially on sandy soils and when the heat and evapotranspiration rates are high.
Let’s look at rainfall data from Donalsonville, Ga.
First let’s look at 2013! It was a very wet year, no argument about that with 79 inches collected, almost 30 inches above average. In the second chart below we look at the rainfall that occurred during the main crop use time and we see double normal rainfall from May 1 to Sept. 1. We had problems associated with too much moisture that year.
Now we will look at 2014 data. Well, we had more than average rainfall for the year, 68 inches total, when our norm is 54 inches. So why did we have severe drought in our crops and high irrigation expenses?
The second chart below answers that question. We didn’t get the rain when it was needed. We had half the normal rainfall when summer crops needed it from May 1 to Sept 1, even though the year was a surplus rain year.
To view weather and rainfall data like this, go to http://www.georgiaweather.net/.
Posted by romeethredge on January 19, 2015
What about our aquifer that we irrigated so much from this summer? It allowed us to make good yields on land a few feet from where crops were not harvested due to dry weather.
Well, the Floridan aquifer was well recharged going into the summer drought. This chart shows the whole year of 2014 in terms of well water levels. You can see how the level (blue line for 2014) dropped, but not much below average levels(gold triangles). Then our rains starting in early September have recharged the aquifer nicely again.
Today, it’s 23 feet down to water in this Miller county test well, which is about 8 feet better than normal for this time of year.
Posted by romeethredge on August 7, 2014
This first week of August (if the peanuts were planted by May 1), is the peak of the water use curve, requiring about 2 inches per week. The good news is that we’re about to move past the peak water use period and start requiring slightly less water in the oldest fields.
If your peanuts were planted 2-4 weeks later they will move into the highest water use period soon. Please see the figure below for the ranges of peanuts planted from late April (yellow) and peanuts planted in middle May (blue).
Thanks to UGA Scientists, Wes Porter, Gary Hawkins and Calvin Perry for most of this info.
Posted by romeethredge on July 17, 2014
EPD Stakeholder Meeting
Watershed Protection Branch
Discussion of Possible Rule Changes
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Watershed Protection Branch will hold a stakeholder meeting to discuss possible changes in the Flint River Drought Protection Act Rule. The meeting will be held on July 24, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the following location:
Albany State University
ACAD Building Auditorium
Corner of Radium Springs and Joseph Holley Circle, Albany, GA 31705
The purpose of this meeting is to inform and solicit input from the public and impacted organizations regarding possible revisions to Department of Natural Resources Rule 391-3-28, the Flint River Drought Protection Act Rule, as directed by Senate Bill 213.
EPD’s goals are to ensure that stakeholders have an opportunity to understand the process of rule revisions and provide input on the rule changes that are under consideration. The meeting will include time for stakeholder comments and EPD response to questions. Growers and Landowners are invited to attend.
More information and related handouts are available at this site:
EPD is accepting feedback from stakeholders on these issues through July 31, 2014.
Mail: James A. Capp, Chief, Watershed Protection Branch, EPD
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 1152 East
Atlanta, GA 30334
RE: Flint River Drought Protection Rule – Stakeholder Meeting
Subject: Flint River Drought Protection Rule – Stakeholder Meeting
Here are soybeans being irrigated this week in Seminole County.
Posted by romeethredge on May 2, 2014
The SmartIrrigation Cotton App is now available. This is a smartphone app for scheduling irrigation on cotton which is available for both iOS and Android phones. You can find links to the app at http://smartirrigationapps.org/.
You can find lots of supporting information about the App if you click on Read More at the above link. Included there is a 15-minute webinar-style tutorial.
Posted by romeethredge on May 2, 2014
I saw a farmer’s wife’s Facebook post this morning about asking for folks to pray for our farmer’s situation and to pray for the farmers to have patience…and she’s right. We are behind but it’s still early and we have time to get this crop in. Last year May was very dry and we got a lot done.
With the equipment we have, we can do a lot in a short time when it dries out, sure we’ll have to leave the wet areas, (turn around don’t drown) , but we’ll get most of the land planted.
Cotton varieties are a subject I’m hearing talk about. I spoke with Dr. Guy Collins, UGA Cotton Scientist and he said we really need to choose cotton varieties based on their performance in our area and not on maturity. Even a full season variety will do well planted late in many circumstances. If we get cotton in later than we want to, then make sure our management is good and we will be ok, if the weather allows. It’s just May 1 and we have until early to mid June. If we plant on the late side we need to manage our fertilization and sidedressing well , and put out our PGR’s correctly for the variety and situation, and irrigate when we need to. There’s really not a lot of difference in our varieties , maybe a week to 10 days in maturity.
The UGA Variety performance Calculator is a good place to do research http://www.ugacotton.com/vault/cottoncalc/ also you can look directly at OVT data at this site http://www.ugacotton.com/cotton-variety-selection/
Posted by romeethredge on March 28, 2014
We now have some field corn that has celebrated a month of age today. I took some photos of it yesterday. It is growing with some challenges due to cool temperatures causing yellowing and slower growth and sand blasting.
Stands look pretty good so far, but we are having to deal with crusting soils in between the rains. We need to wet the crust in most cases to soften it to get all our plants up evenly. We are getting some sub surface unfurling and loss of plants due to the hard crust.
Here’s some sandblasting that occurred with the high winds this week.
Soil crusting has been a problem, hurting us in some cases.
A light irrigation does a lot of good for this problem.
Posted by romeethredge on November 22, 2013
Twenty years ago, we in south Georgia farming country were all lulled to sleep on dry summer nights by the drone of diesel engines all around, pumping water for our crops. Now it is quiet at night due to the diesels being converted to quiet electric run pumps.
Here’s an opportunity if there are some that haven’t been converted yet.
An opportunity for incentive funding to help with Diesel to Electric conversion:
“The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA)… announced a second round of the Georgia Agricultural Irrigation Motor (AIM) Program, an incentive program designed to help Georgia farmers become more energy-efficient, save money on fuel costs, and reduce emissions… The Georgia AIM Program will provide farmers with a rebate to replace inefficient diesel irrigation engines with energy-efficient electric irrigation motors. The rebates will cover 25 percent of eligible project costs, with a $10,000 maximum rebate available.”
Go to this website for more details:
“The application period for the program opens online at www.gefa.org on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. Available funding is limited and rebates will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The application period will close Saturday, February 15, 2014, at 5:00 p.m.”
Thanks to Calvin Perry of the Striping Irrigation Park for letting me know about this.
Posted by romeethredge on August 16, 2013
Some areas aren’t getting rain now and our crop root systems aren’t the best since we have had such a wet summer. I see many systems running and that is good, we need to supply water where needed. It has also started to warm up and with several recent days in the mid – nineties, plants are using lots of water.
We have fields with large wet areas but some parts of the field are dry.
Here is a chart from the UGA Peanut Production Guide showing how much water peanuts use at different times in their progression.
And the irrigation schedule chart below that shows that most peanuts need about 2 inches per week now, weeks 13 through 17, this would be 90 days old up to around 120 days of age.