Irrigation Workshops and the Adaptive Nitrogen Management Program in Central Minnesota
East Otter Tail County SWCD, Darren Newville, District Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org 218-346-4260 x110
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has partnered with the East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District (EOT SWCD) to carry out a series of workshops and expand programs that promote proper water and nitrogen management. Read a Summary of the 2012 Irrigation Workshops.
In partnership, the MDA and EOT SWCD developed curriculum and hosted four workshops in central Minnesota. These workshops included information about on-farm nitrogen and fertilizer management and engaged participants with hands-on activities.
There are many other activities aimed at helping irrigators improve nutrient and water management.
- A comprehensive needs assessment of the irrigation industry will include a survey of irrigators in the Central Sands region. The survey will explore current water and nitrogen management and also identify obstacles that hinder the adoption of more sophisticated management practices.
- East Otter Tail SWCD offers one-on-one training and works with individual producers to schedule proper irrigation management. Additionally, partners are supporting an on-farm adaptive management program that encourages farmers to implement management actions, monitor to observe the results of those actions and use the results to update knowledge and adjust future management actions accordingly.
- Three weather stations have been installed to provide regional climate information to producers, specifically evapotranspiration data. This information helps irrigators know the daily water needs of various crops and more effectively manage water.
More information is available on MDA's Clean Water Fund website.
About the Issue
MDA monitoring data indicates that high groundwater nitrate levels exist in some areas of central Minnesota and that nitrate levels have steadily increased in this region over the past two decades. The sandy soils in this area are a major factor contributing to the elevated groundwater nitrate levels. Proper irrigation water and nitrogen management are critical where vulnerable groundwater aquifers are prevalent.
This program will provide Minnesota irrigators with the knowledge, tools and technology to make informed management decisions that can minimize negative environmental impacts while increasing profitability.
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