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Irrigation Scheduling Saves Resources and Boosts the Bottom Line

How do you know when it’s time to start your pivots? How much water to apply?  Or when you can shut them down without sacrificing yield potential?

If you’re like many farmers, you’ve probably had to make these and other irrigation-related decisions with little or no science-based data to help simplify your many choices. 

If you get it right, you’ll likely see improved yields, higher crop quality and reduced input costs.

If you get it wrong, you could over- or under-water, which can lead to crop stress, disease and nutrient leaching.

There’s good news though, the innovative new FieldNET Advisor™ solution provides farmers with the information they need to make better-informed irrigation decisions - decisions that are based on proven science and reliable data. 

“Irrigation is very dynamic and most fields have differing watering needs,” said Sam Haider, irrigation scientist and vice president of international business at Lindsay Corporation. “Effective irrigation management and scheduling are essential to maximizing yields and profitability.”

With irrigation scheduling, growers are able to determine the correct amount of water to apply to the field, as well as the correct timing for the application. This is accomplished by tracking critical inputs related to the soil water balance (e.g., crop water usage, effective rainfall, actual applied irrigation history and past deep percolation) to track the current soil water depletion level and forecast the upcoming crop water requirements at every point across the field.

“We know that over-irrigation wastes water, energy and labor. It also leaches nutrients below the root zone. Too little water stresses the crop and reduces yield,” Haider said. “That’s why FieldNET Advisor is such an important new tool. With FieldNET Advisor, growers no longer have to rely on visual inspections, use complex calculations or juggle multiple tools to track their crops’ water needs. Simply put – it advises growers when to water, where to water and how much water to apply using scientifically proven techniques and highly accurate data.”

Backed by more than 40 years of proven research, FieldNET Advisor drastically simplifies and automates the use of proven irrigation scheduling methods. It delivers continuously updated, science-based irrigation recommendations that are customized for each field. 

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With FieldNET Advisor, growers can feel confident in their irrigation management decisions and realize the benefits of irrigation scheduling which, according to a report from Colorado State Extension, include:

  • Minimizing crop water stress to maximize yields.
  • Reducing the cost of water and labor through fewer irrigations, making maximum use of soil moisture storage
  • Lowering fertilizer costs by holding surface runoff and deep percolation (leaching) to a minimum
  • Increasing net returns by increasing crop yields and crop quality
  • Minimizing water-logging problems by reducing drainage requirements
  • Assisting in controlling root zone salinity problems through controlled leaching

“FieldNET Advisor is the simplest, most effective way to monitor soil moisture and schedule center pivot irrigation,” Haider said. “It’s a game-changer for growers and the irrigation industry.

For more information about FieldNET Advisor, talk to your local Zimmatic dealer or visit www.myfieldnet.com.