Managing Water for Crop Production

center pivot and fertilizer application

The production of crops is the heart of Nebraska's economy. Water is essential to all plant growth. Thus Nebraska's economy relies on a plentiful supply of water to produce crops – in both rainfed and irrigated environments. Several factors involved with producing crops interact with either water supply or water quality issues - or both.

Crop management hinges on the availability of water. For example, optimal plant populations will vary depending on the quantity of water available during the growing season.

Nutrient management, or soil fertility, will vary in much the same manner. Nutrient management will also have an impact on the quality of water resources – both surface and groundwater.

Pesticides need to be managed in such a way to optimize pest control while minimizing pesticide loss to the environment.

Various soil and water management practices exist which will minimize soil loss and evaporative water loss, while providing a good environment for crop establishment.

Throughout Nebraska there are a variety of demonstration projects which illustrate how to put various practices in place to maximize profitability while at the same time use water resources efficiently and protect water quality.

Online Irrigation and Soils Courses

These online modules are intended for crop consultants, agency personnel, crop producers and others interested in improving their soil science or soil fertility management and irrigation management skills. The registration fee for each course is $50. CEU credit is available for an additional $10 per credit with a maximum of 13 credits per course.

Online Irrigation Home Study Course registration
Please contact Chuck Burr for details on the course: (308) 995-4222 or

Online Soils Home Study Course registration
Please contact Keith Glewen for details on the course: (402) 624-8030 or

Online Irrigation & Nitrogen Management User Education/Certification Program - coming out soon.  More information and details on how to access the course will be available here when it is released.

Information presented within the crop production section of this Water Web site has been reviewed by University of Nebraska - Lincoln Cropping Systems Team members Richard Ferguson, Paul Jasa, Bob Klein, Dean Krull, Clyde Ogg, Jim Schneider, and Charles Shapiro.


Online Chemigation Training Available At This Web Site

Previously certified chemigators can become recertified by participating in the training program online, although the test must be completed at a specified UNL Extension Office. The program consists of a registration section, nine chapters of printed material with video clips, training manual and calibration workbook, internet links to equipment distributors, and a testing site. The online training program can be completed at one sitting or over a period of time but producers should not initiate the training program until after January 1 of the year their certification is due to expire. For more information about chemigation training programs contact Bill Kranz at (402) 584-3857 or