As grain farmers plan to install irrigation systems for next year's crops, a Purdue and Michigan State Extension irrigation specialist says organization is key.

That's why Lyndon Kelley authored a free irrigation planning checklist, available on the Michigan State University Extension news page at http://news.msue.msu.edu/news/article/new_irrigation_planning_checklist.

"When planning a new irrigation system for your farm, a little organization can help avoid mistakes," Kelley said. "The checklist was collected from several well-seasoned irrigators and irrigation sales people."

First, he said, farmers need to pay attention to irrigation water requirements and make sure there is enough water available to meet them.

"In Michigan and Indiana, evaporation and plant water use from the soil are between 0.25 inches and 0.30 inches for several days each summer," Kelley said. "Systems that can provide 5 gallons per acre will meet the 0.25 inch per day. Seven gallons per acre will be needed to provide 0.30 inch water requirements."

Because irrigation isn't profitable without adequate water sources, farmers also need to pay close attention to ground and surface water availability.

Kelley said nearby, large-volume irrigation, municipal or industrial wells are good sources of water.

"Well drillers familiar with large volume wells in your area are also excellent resources," he said.