Home Farm Equipment 20 Minnesota SWCDs selected for precision irrigation

20 Minnesota SWCDs selected for precision irrigation

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Twenty soil and water conservation districts have been selected to work with the Minnesota Division of Agriculture on a regional irrigation mission. The mission will present monetary and technical assist to farmers who undertake precision irrigation and nitrogen administration practices to assist deal with groundwater high quality and amount points.

The SWCDS are Becker, Benton, Cass, Dakota, Douglas, East Otter Tail, Grant, Hubbard, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Wadena, Washington and West Otter Tail.

REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP: Agricultural producers utilizing irrigation in 20 Minnesota SWCDs may have the choice to work with conservation companions on a five-year mission that can spotlight precision irrigation practices to enhance and shield groundwater high quality and amount. The 20 SWCDs are Becker, Benton, Cass, Dakota, Douglas, East Otter Tail, Grant, Hubbard, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Wadena, Washington and West Otter Tail. (Courtesy of MDA)

USDA’s Pure Assets Conservation Service awarded MDA and mission companions a $3.5 million Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) grant to implement the mission over 5 years. Different companions are Central Lakes School Ag and Vitality Heart, AgCentric, Northern Heart of Agricultural Excellence, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Irrigators Affiliation of Minnesota, Central Minnesota Irrigators, Todd-Wadena Electrical Co-op, Reinke Manufacturing, R.D. Offutt Farms, RESPEC Consulting, the College of Minnesota, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Assets (BWSR) and the Minnesota Division of Well being.

The SWCDs collaborating on this program will work with producers utilizing funds to implement irrigation greatest practices. Darren Newville, East Otter Tail SWCD district supervisor and lead SWCD contact for the mission, says they’re nonetheless within the early phases of getting agreements in place with companions.

“We are shooting for having funds available in 2022,” he says.

East Otter Tail SWCD will plan subject days and different outreach occasions to share findings from the mission with space farmers. Signal-up and assembly dates have but to be decided.

(*20*)Behind-the-scenes planning

The thought for a regional irrigation mission happened after East Otter Tail SWCD and the St. Paul, Minn.-based Freshwater Society hosted a number of workshops attended by greater than 90 farmers, the irrigation trade and others within the area to debate curiosity in sustainable farming practices and learn how to shield groundwater sources.

Irrigated areas of the state usually have coarse-textured soils, the place the groundwater is vulnerable to nitrate contamination and a few areas do have elevated nitrate ranges. The agricultural public is worried for two causes. First, most of their ingesting water comes from these groundwater sources. Second, groundwater withdrawals for ag irrigation could affect groundwater-surface water hydrology.

Data gleaned from the workshops was supplied to MDA for the grant utility, Newville says.

A number of the regional mission is much like irrigation programming at East Otter Tail SWCD — but on the subsequent degree, with the newer expertise obtainable.

“We currently have a smaller Clean Water Fund Grant from BWSR to do similar work in the East Otter Tail [SWCD}, and Wadena SWCD [has one] that is just starting this year,” Newville provides. “It is our mini RCPP on a local level.”

As defined in its overview, the mission will present monetary and technical assist to irrigators prepared to undertake and combine confirmed precision irrigation and nitrogen administration practices and applied sciences to assist deal with groundwater high quality and amount points.

The mission will deal with conservation irrigation practices utilizing a versatile, tiered method, the place irrigators can take part on the degree that matches their operation and perspective in direction of expertise adoption and threat.

The primary tier contains putting in superior soil moisture sensors in irrigated fields to reinforce water administration by way of irrigation scheduling. The second tier will embody putting in precision irrigation packages, with updates to panel, nozzles and VFD (variable-frequency-drive) pumps. The third tier will embody a sophisticated irrigation bundle, together with the latest expertise for irrigation water and nutrient administration. This contains distant operation expertise, crop standing sensors and variable-rate fertigation methods.

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