4th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Mace Bauer
Session Name Poster Session: Managing water for people and the environment
Poster Number 58
Author(s) Mace Bauer,  UF/IFAS Extension, Columbia County (Presenting Author)
  Implementation of Advanced Irrigation Management on North Florida Farms
  North Florida’s Lower Suwannee River Basin (SRB) is a major field crop production area, particularly for corn and peanuts. Supplemental watering is required to achieve maximum economic production due to sandy, porous soils. More than 32,000 acres of agricultural land in the basin have been fitted with overhead irrigation systems to meet water demand and achieve economic optimum production. The Suwannee River Water Management District reports that on average, production agriculture withdraws 180 million gallons of ground water per day. More than 2,000 center pivot irrigation systems in the SRB account for most of this consumption. Agriculture is facing increasing pressure from citizens and regulators to show efficient use of water resources. Continuously measuring soil moisture and climate data using current, affordable technology are an excellent method to optimize irrigation management for water conservation and economic optimum management. Recording systems are automated and relatively maintenance free. However, gaps exist in both technical and agronomic knowledge which reduces on-farm implementation of this technology. The objectives of this project are to 1)) Assemble the equipment and education into a package that can be readily adopted by producers; 2) Deliver this package to producers in the region and help them integrate it into their production system; and 3) Demonstrate groundwater withdrawal reductions realized from this program.