Many growers considered the current meters just another piece of equipment in the field, but it can yield some important information for farmers, he says. It can be an on-farm management tool to help increase water-use efficiency, he adds.

“If you have an irrigation system that’s 10 or 15 years old, odds are that it isn’t operating as it did when you first bought it. You may think you’re putting out 1 inch when you’re actually putting out 7/10 inch.

“Through the course of a season, each time you shorten that crop’s water supply, it adds up. If you can get that system to put out what you want when you want it, then by the end of the season, you’ll know how much water is out there,” says Finley.

Recording the water amounts from the meter before and after irrigating can help farmers know exactly how much they’re applying, he says.

“Simply open your meter and record the beginning reading. Then, when you finish the irrigation cycle, write down the ending numbers. This will help you calculate the number of inches you’re putting out. Most of our meters record in acre-inches, and an acre-inch is 27,154 gallons.

“You know that 60-day-old peanuts need about 2/10 inch of water per day to make it during that particular growth stage. If you put an inch out, hoping it’ll get you through five days, but you’re actually putting out 7/10 inch, then by the fifth day, you’re stressing that crop unnecessarily.”

Also at Field Day, it was announced that Reinke Manufacturing, Inc., a leading manufacturer of mechanized irrigation systems, is donating a new, highly efficient, eight-tower center pivot irrigation system to the Darrell Williams Research Farm at the Sunbelt Ag Expo.

“Reinke has long been a partner with Sunbelt Expo for more than 30 years now, and we both remain dedicated to advancing the science and technology of agriculture,” says Reinke President Chris Roth.

“Reinke looks forward to continuing our relationship with Sunbelt Expo and making investments toward agricultural growth in the Southeast for years to come.”

“We just can’t thank Reinke enough for their donation and ongoing commitment to our mission,” says Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition Executive Director Chip Blalock.

“This is a great partnership for Sunbelt Expo as we continue to educate farmers on increasing agriculture efficiencies, being good stewards of water resources and utilizing technological advancements to achieve a more positive bottom line.”

The new center pivot will replace an aging model currently located on the farm and will help researchers provide better reliability, apply water more uniformity, and increase efficiencies for the research plots in the 150-acre coverage area.

Reinke’s donation also includes technology advancements at the research facility where computer-based telemetry will link many of the irrigation machines and pumping plants to a central computer.

The eight-tower center pivot irrigation system will incorporate an on-site weather station that will report real-time weather conditions and historical weather data. That data, coupled with the operating history and plant water requirements, will make the facility the most modern and most efficient growing operation in the region.

Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day is a preview of the tradeshow, now in its 35th year, held each October. The Expo features about 1,200 exhibitors showcasing the latest in farming technology.

phollis@farmpress.com