Saturday, May 18, 2024

University of Arkansas to host water management/irrigation schools

Chris Henry irrigation school
Chris Henry, right, U of A System Division of Agriculture irrigation expert, oversees an irrigation school at Alicia, Arkansas — photo courtesy University of Arkansas

Arkansas crop producers who want to get a better handle on water use in 2019 will have several opportunities through a series of irrigation/water management schools.

“The schools are small groups with short instruction and include practical exercises,” says Chris Henry, associate professor and water management engineer for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Surge/soil moisture sensor schools

The Division of Agriculture irrigation team will also host surge and soil moisture sensor schools, which will cover use, layout and programming of surge valves for different soil types and conditions. The schools are being offered as requested.

The schools provide the participants the basics of soil moisture sensors and how to use them to schedule irrigation. Participants will make a set of Watermark sensors in the school and are provided a slide hammer, installation tools and a manual reader, all of which are used in the school.

The cost of the school is $500, which includes four sensors, a slide hammer installation tool and a manual reader for those who do not have the tools needed to use sensors.

The industry has provided a deep discount on the supplies needed to get started with sensors, so that participants can get the tools they need to use sensors effectively for irrigation.

Surge/Soil Moisture Sensor schools run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. They will be held:

• Feb. 12 – McCrory – McCrory Civic Center, 103 N. Edmonds

• Feb. 27 – Brinkley – Tri-County Farmers North Plant, 310 Grand Ave.

“The school is designed for those that want to use sensors in 2019, and we will prepare participants with all of the items needed so they can walk out the door and install and use sensors on their farm,” Henry says.

The number of participants for each school is limited to 15-20 people. To have a school hosted in your area, contact your county Extension office.

This school is being supported by the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Board, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Multiple inlet rice irrigation

The Division of Agriculture is also hosting schools for rice farmers who are using or wish to use Multiple Inlet Rice Irrigation on difficult fields. The school teaches how to use the Rice Irrigation mobile app to plan MIRI in fields. The school will also show how to use levee survey programs and tractor GPS equipment to create the levee files for the plan.

“We finally have a tool that allows anyone with a mobile device to design the most complex fields for MIRI at the lowest cost in a matter of minutes,” Henry says. Support for the school is being provided by the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. There is no cost to attend.

For more information about these irrigation schools, contact your county Extension office.

The University of Arkansas contributed this article.

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