In any research study, timing is critical. Agriculture researchers at the University of Missouri’s Fisher Delta Research Center were spending valuable time troubleshooting outdated equipment that was hampering their ability to conduct experiments and educate students.
In an effort to remedy the issue, Lindsay donated a new pivot complete with Precision Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI), FieldNET® wireless irrigation management and a fully customized Watertronics pump station including advanced controls, variable frequency drive, sensors, and a power monitoring system so researchers could focus on, well, research.
The result? Quality education and important findings.
MU Plant and Sciences Professor Gene Stevens says one of the more interesting experiments the university is conducting is growing rice – typically a water-intensive flood irrigated crop – under overhead pivot irrigation.
“We can now grow rice in places we could never grow it before,” says Stevens, a cropping systems specialist.
This is significant, as rice is the third most important grain crop in the world following corn and wheat. Stevens shares information with other researchers to find ways to continue improving the crop.
“We are collaborating on blending American and West African varieties of rice to see if we can get drought-tolerant rice,” Stevens says.
Switching from flood- to pivot-irrigated rice saves up to 50 percent water and provides another significant benefit – arsenic reduction. Pivot-irrigated rice produces kernels with lower arsenic concentration. Some experiments have even shown arsenic levels almost 13 times lower compared to rice grown under continuous flood irrigation.
Learn more about pivots irrigating rice here.