Nitrogen reduction using irrigation scheduling and cover crops
Accelerated Implementation Grant 2014
LOCAL LEVERAGED FUNDS
This project combines the use of automated soil moisture probes for irrigation scheduling with diverse cover crop planting to reduce or eliminate leaching of nitrogen and other nutrients on cropland with an early season harvested crop in the rotation. The more efficient use of irrigation waters provides a secondary benefit: less withdrawal from the aquifers that provide recharge for the Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer. Combining automated soil moisture probes, cell phone technology, and the Internet, this project will provide real time soil moisture conditions to growers who can use that information to provide improved irrigation scheduling and prevent leaching of nutrients below the crop root zone. John Deere Field Connect soil moisture probes will be installed in center pivot irrigated fields.
The project will remain in place for the length of the crop rotation. After the early season crop is harvested, a diverse cover drop will be established to scavenge any remaining nitrogen. During the growing season, soil moisture data will be posted daily to the Soil and Water Conservation District's website for viewing by neighboring growers, seed companies, crop consultants, and others.