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David Sparks Ph.d Irrigation Research
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: June 13, 2019

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Among the several areas of agriculture improved by research is irrigation. Studies range from new practices and technologies to grow more, with less water, to how water supplies or lack thereof impact particular crops or livestock or even regions of the world. And the research efforts are in many cases collaborative. John Farmer is with the Irrigation Association. His group has evolved in one such partnership.

 

“We're very excited to partner with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research which was formed during the last farm bill. Great organization. They put up some funds that are matched by private industry, non-profits, for profit companies and what we've done was introduced an irrigation innovation Consortium which will be based in Fort Collins, Colorado. The partnership of the Irrigation Association has with the FFAR and five of their Langer universities and is said to be a hub of new irrigation research down the road. We're very excited about that.

 

Farmer envisions the partnership looking at a wide gamut of irrigation research whether it involves say traditional row crops trees that produce specialty crops or the turf that landscapes our homes office properties parks and golf courses.

 

Looking at different technologies with different soil types and different crops. So for example you think of drip irrigation with high value specialty crops out in California. Well what about growing corn with drip or vice versa. Looking at pivots which are really wheat corn the commodities in the mid part of the states Nebraska Iowa etc.. Growing some high value specialty crops with pivots etc. So we're looking at different ways to increase productivity increase yield versus kind of water used.

 

And so that's gonna be a big focus of the consortium bidding for an example of this crisscross of irrigation research is taking place at Iowa State University.

 

Big picture might project this about improving the prediction of water dynamics in the soil which laid that it will help us improve the crop yields Qataris arc Antilles is the researcher behind this study.

 

And by better understanding subsoil water and how it interacts with the soil producers can use this data and tools to gather such to make decisions including irrigation rates and timing and in the opposite in how too much water can create disease and pest problems for their crops.

 

So the worst case scenario for the farm it is water stress and this is what we try to understand and improve.

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