NDSU to Hold Irrigation Workshops in December
The North Dakota State University Extension Service is holding irrigation workshops Dec. 10 in Bismarck and Dec. 16 in Williston.
“The drought in California and its impact on high-value irrigated crops have been in the news for the past year,” says Extension water quality and irrigation specialist Tom Scherer. “This has raised concerns about fresh water supplies throughout the U.S. Irrigators in California and many other states have been using more technology to fine-tune their management of allocated water, resulting in less pumped water with equal yields. Better irrigation management technologies are the focus of these workshops.”
This year, North Dakota was fortunate with well-distributed rainfall, according to Scherer. However, some areas of the state experienced drought conditions during the growing season and having the ability to irrigate produced a substantial difference in yields. Irrigation provides more consistent crop production on a year-to-year basis, allows producers to grow longer-season crops (such as corn, potatoes and soybeans), provides a consistent supply of forage for animal operations and diversifies the farm enterprise.
The workshop on Thursday, Dec. 10, is in the Grand Pacific Room at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck. It will be held in conjunction with the North Dakota Water Users Association convention. NDSU Extension and the North Dakota Irrigation Association sponsor the workshop. An irrigation exposition for suppliers to display their products and services will be held at the same time.
Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. and workshop presentations begin at 8:30 a.m.
The morning session will include presentations on the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) irrigation program, sprinkler application uniformity, variable-rate irrigation research, irrigation developments along the McClusky Canal, prescription maps for variable-rate irrigation, and variable-frequency drives for irrigation applications. The North Dakota Irrigation Association will hold its annual meeting in the same room from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The highlight of the afternoon session will be a presentation on new irrigation infrastructure at the Bob Titus Oakes Irrigation Research Site. The topics of other afternoon sessions will include pesticide-resistant weeds, an update on irrigation research at the Nesson Valley irrigation research site and recognizing saline- and/or sodium-affected soils. The registration fee of $20 (payable at the door) includes lunch.
The workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 16, is in the Ernie French Building at the NDSU Williston Research Extension Center just west of Williston on U.S. Highway 2. Presentation topics will include irrigated farm economics, NRCS resources available to farmers using irrigation, recognizing salinity and/or sodium soils and an update on irrigation research at the Nesson Valley irrigation site.
That program begins at 9 a.m. with coffee and rolls, and presentations will start at 9:30 a.m. The event is free of charge. Lunch will be provided. It is sponsored by the Mountrail/Williams Electric Cooperative and Agri-Industries.