The focus of this week’s global Water for Food conference in Lincoln is how to feed more people while using less water.
Nebraska farmer Brandon Hunnicutt says they have made significant reductions in water usage per acre on their farm over the past decade. Hunnicutt says replacing their flood, or gravity, irrigation systems with center pivot irrigation has made a big difference in water efficiency.
“It wasn’t that long ago where we were laying out lots of pipe for gravity irrigation,” Hunnicutt says, “then we converted those to pivot irrigation, and some of those pivots are now being replaced by newer pivots, which then lead to better quality sprinkler packages and better quality monitoring systems on the pivots.”
Hunnicutt says better seed technologies have also made a big difference, as well as the conversion to minimum till farming. “Being able to keep the residue on the soil, to keep the soil cool, to keep moisture in—and down to using Watermark sensors and the Aqua View system and John Deere Water over the years,” he says.
“Some different things that we can do to say ‘okay, what’s going on in the soil with water—and how much water do we have in there versus what’s the crop requiring now and in the next week—and how can we make sure that balances okay, so we’re not overwatering’.”
Hunnicutt farms near Giltner in central Nebraska.
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