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On Farm Drainage/Subsurface Irrigation Demo

On Farm Drainage/Subsurface Irrigation Demo

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On Farm Drainage/Subsurface Irrigation Demo

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  1. On Farm Drainage/SubsurfaceIrrigation Demo Gerald Bryan UM Extension Agronomist Jackson, MO

  2. Laser Controlled Tile Installation at Lorberg Farm, Cape Girardeau County

  3. Need for Drainage • Low Yields • 85 bushel corn yield average last 4 crops • Drained sites yield double • High yield – 170 bu. • Late planting dates • Poor weed control • $$$$$ Loss

  4. Project Goals • Better drain the existing wet soil profile. • Provide opportunistic subsurface irrigation by tapping into existing permanent springs adjacent to the field. • Increase economic return=higher yields

  5. Laser Controlled Tile Plow This sucker oughta dig some potatoes!

  6. Existing Springs Utilized for Irrigation Water Source • Several existing springs were connected to the system. • Spring flow was about 27 gallons per minute, or 2.8 inches of available water per acre per month over the whole field. • Maximum of 8.4 inches of water available for delivery over a 90 day irrigation system Snake!!

  7. Observed maximum of 1.2’ of upward water movement before the 4” line was installed, at the manifold

  8. Cross Section of Field Drainage System in Operation Stoplog boards are removed and excess water moves into pipes and is transported from field. Irrigation System in Operation Stoplog boards are inserted to the same elevation as the lower plant roots. Water soaks out of the pipe and flows upward to the plant roots.

  9. Preparing to install 4” line from the 6” manifold The manifold was a 6” corrugated plastic tubing. The drain/irrigation lines were 4” slot cut corrugated plastic tubing, on 30’ centers, buried about 38” deep.

  10. Installation was very accurate and controlled. Average speed was about 3 feet/second I can’t believe I dropped my annual report in there….

  11. Lorberg Controlled Drainage Project The goal was to economically install drain lines that remove excess soil profile water and also be able to provide controlled subsurface irrigation.

  12. Lorberg Controlled Drainage Project • Two weir boxes provided the ability to “perch” the water table to the desired elevation during the irrigation season.

  13. Lorberg Controlled Drainage Project • Photo at left shows the manifold outlet, then the weir box. The 6” manifold runs along the west field edge. This photo, taken after a rain, illustrates the rapid field drainage after installation. Dry centers indicate 4” drain locations.

  14. Field planted same day June 12 Field planted Late April Planted same day May 24, 2004 Field after planting May 24, 2004

  15. Lorberg Controlled Drainage Project • Groundwater wells monitored water levels during the growing season. A total lack of spring outflow indicated that the crop was using all of the water supplied to the tile system.

  16. Preliminary Results • The drainage component worked very well in 2004 and was heavily tested by a wet June. • The irrigation component also performed well. We are sure that the spring flow will not provide total crop needs during a typical dry year. It should still provide significant crop yield increases over the “no irrigation” alternative.

  17. 2004 was a good crop year. An adjacent field with identical soils and drainage problems yielded 125 bushels of corn/acre. The newly drained field was the subject of a closely measured test plot. It averaged 201 bushels/acre. Preliminary Results

  18. Corn Yields • 4 year average= 85 Bushels • 2004 Averages • Drained Field 200.1 Bu./A. • Undrained Field same day 121.0 Bu./A. • April Planted Field 135.0 Bu/A • Hill Corn – April 150+ Bu/A.

  19. Preliminary Economic Results • The project cost a maximum of $608/acre, total installation cost. Annual O&M costs are nearly zero. • With a 20 year lifespan, 75 bushel/acre yield increase, $2.25/bushel marginal corn valuation, and 8% interest rate, the present value of the installation is $1656 • On a cash flow basis, the installation cost is recovered in 3 years.

  20. Landowner Comments • Yield increases were impressive and indicate the project has sound economics. • The landowner is planning to install additional drainage/irrigation acreage. • Future installations should be less labor intensive and even more economical as we put this year’s field experience to use.

  21. Regional Application Comments • This type of drainage/irrigation system can be installed in areas with permeable topsoil underlaid by a low permability clay layer. • Hubble Creek, Williams Creek, and several other small-floodplain creeks seem to have more applicable acreage than originally anticipated. • Three other farmers are planning installations in 2005.

  22. That darn Agronomist and NRCS guy said this would pay for all this work in 3-years…..What IDIOTS !!! Thanks to John and Jeff Lorberg, Farm owner/operators, Gordonville and Mark Nussbaum , NRCS