Free session will answer questions about overhead irrigation

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Farmers can learn more about adding irrigation to their operations at a free educational session later this month.

“Overhead Irrigation Basics” will be held Jan. 22 in the Home Economics building at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds, at 1010 Teal Road in Lafayette.

The all-day session will feature Lyndon Kelley, an Extension irrigation specialist for both Purdue University and Michigan State University, as well as industry experts and farmers who have successfully incorporated irrigation into their businesses.

“Irrigation reduces risk for farmers by supplying water - often the limiting factor to yield,” Kelley said. “With irrigation, producers are managing the greatest variability in yield.”

Kelley said irrigation is becoming increasingly important to farmers because input costs continue to rise and because of drought in recent years.

“There has been a huge expansion in Indiana - more than 5 percent per year, 1997 through 2007 - and still accelerating according to irrigation equipment suppliers,” Kelley said.

In many areas, the increase in seed and specialty crop production drives expansion of irrigated acres.

“Sandy or light ground with irrigation is a specialty crop mecca by reducing risks associated with drought and delayed planting or fieldwork delay,” Kelley said.

But irrigation in standard corn or soybean rotations has begun to look favorable and economical in water-limited soils.

“Commodity prices over the past four years have made irrigation very economical in areas where soil moisture limits crop yield,” Kelley said.

Topics at the session include irrigation economics, design, equipment, energy options, water requirements and water source options.

Organizer Curt Emanuel, Clinton County Extension educator, has requested continuing education units - CEUs - for Certified Crop Advisers and said those should be available to attendees. Questions about the session should be directed to Emanuel at 765-659-6380. An event brochure is available at http://www3.ag.purdue.edu/counties/clinton/Documents/Irrigation_IN%20Jan%2022%202013.pdf

Although there is no cost for the program, Emanuel would like everyone to register in advance by Jan. 18. Register by contacting one of the following:

  • Clinton County Extension, 765-659-6380.
  • Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District, 765-884-1090, ext. 3.
  • Carroll County SWCD, 765-564-4480.
  • Clinton County SWCD, 765-659-1223 ext. 3.
  • Howard County SWCD, 765-457-2114 ext. 3.
  • Tippecanoe County SWCD, 765-474-9992 ext. 3.


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