Why Manage Irrigation?
The goal of irrigation management is to use water in the most profitable way at sustainable production levels. For production agriculture this generally means supplementing precipitation with irrigation.
In recent years we have seen declines in groundwater levels, almost statewide. Much of the State of Nebraska is considered fully or over-appropriated. This means that in those over-appropriated areas there will be no new development of irrigated acres.
Some Natural Resources Districts have established pumping restrictions for irrigation water. Increases in fuel prices means that pumping extra irrigation water increases irrigation expenses without increasing income.
High nitrate levels have been found in many areas of the state. Nitrates in drinking water can be attributed, in part, to over-application of nitrogen fertilizer and/or over- irrigation.
All of these factors indicate that irrigators should be scheduling their irrigation applications to make maximum use of precipitation and reduce excess use of irrigation water.