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Agronomy Update

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Published on Friday, May 19, 2017

There is no better time to experience the benefits of water management than after a big rainfall event. And Mother Nature has provided more than enough of those this season.

Fields across the Midwest have been flooded and tractors put on standby as farmers across the Corn Belt waited out torrential rains and wet fields over the last few weeks. Some fields however, fared better than others. Their secret you ask? Well water management of course!

In 2016, Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® began their water management study at their Southern Illinois PFR site in Effingham. The purpose of this study was to determine the yield differences between control fields and those that were outfitted with different management systems, including tile (spaced at 15, 30 and 60 ft. and at two depths of 24 and 36 in.), drip-irrigation, and sub-irrigation which included sensor-based sub-irrigation, a controlled water table, tile drainage, and manual sub-irrigation.

In 2016, all water management systems provided significant yield increases over the control, as well as visual advantages. During wet times of the season, portions of the field with one of the water management systems experienced quicker drying soils and saw increased uniform plant stands and improved plant health. Between the different systems tested, the average yield advantages ranged from 46.6 Bu./A. to 58.2 Bu./A. over the control.

With all the rain we have experienced this season, we expect the yield advantages to be just as promising. Beck’s SIL PFR site received 7.25 in. of rain over the course of a week earlier this month. Check out this video to learn more about the improvements that have been made to the water management study for 2017 and how effective they have been in managing these intense rains.

To view the results of the 2016 water management studies, click the links below.


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Jonathan Perkins

Jonathan Perkins

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