Water News Archive

Improved Use Efficiency of Applied Organic Nitrogen

Land application of organic materials for soil management in Nebraska is important. The availability of applied organic N and the fertilizer N substitution values of applied organic materials is not well predicted. The uncertainty of applied organic N availability leads to over-application of fertilizer N resulting in low efficiency of applied N use. Research has been done to validate or adapt canopy sensor guided in-season N application practices for fields with manure or other organic material applied, and to improve the prediction of the fertilizer N substitution values for organic materials.

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CropWater App

The UNL CropWater App. A handy tool for irrigators to use in the field to aid in irrigation scheduling.

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Check your water system as part of your New Year Resolutions

The new year is a time where we all make goals and a plan of attack for the upcoming 12 months.  We often think of things we will do to improve our health, save money or be more organized in all or part of our daily lives. One way to take steps to be more organized and also protect your and others’ health as well as the environment is to get reacquainted with your water system--both your drinking well and your on-site wastewater system—and to establish a testing and maintenance schedule for the upcoming months. 

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Ammonia Loss and Emission Reporting: Considerations for Cattle Operations

A resource reality of cattle production is that only 10-30% of the nitrogen (N) that is consumed (i.e. fed protein) is utilized by animals for growth, reproduction, milk production, and maintenance needs. Unused N is excreted, primarily in urine. While livestock production is not the only source of N, producers should recognize that agriculture is clearly the dominant contributor of N to the environment on regional and national scales, and animal manure is a key source along with commercial fertilizer. In April of 2017, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA would have to require animal feeding operations to report ammonia emissions. EPA expects to receive a court mandate on January 22, 2018, enforcing its ruling and opening livestock and poultry operations to consideration under CERCLA/EPCRA.

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Be Water Focused

As we begin a new year and will soon be thinking about lawns and landscapes, here is a reminder to focus on water. A limited resource we can’t live without. A New Year’s landscape resolution can be to conserve and protect water resources. 

Now is a good time to analyze past growing seasons. When the weather was dry, were there plants that needed more frequent irrigation to prevent them from wilting? Could these be replaced with drought tolerant plants?

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Soil quality impacts of agricultural and municipal biosolids applications

Soil health management refers to the preservation and improvement in soil physical, chemical, and biological properties to maximize the productive capacity of soil. Cover crops and reduced tillage are promoted for improving soil health; however, soil amendments such as application of livestock manure and municipal biosolids have received less attention as a soil health improvement practice. A literature review, funded by the North Central Region Water Network and the Soil Health Institute, was conducted to summarize and discuss results of studies reporting chemical, physical, and biological soil properties from application of livestock manure, animal by-products (i.e. compost), and municipal biosolids and to identify further research needs.

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Manure Management Training Offered In-Person, Online

The workshops and online course are designed to help farmers increase the economic value of manure and to understand and implement the nutrient management planning requirements of Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality regulations. Topics covered include: updates on manure management regulations, value of manure as a fertilizer and soil amendment, biosecurity on livestock operations, and more. Anyone currently using manure or considering adding manure to their cropping system fertility program is encouraged to participate.

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Water and wastewater in winter weather

In Nebraska, extreme winter temperatures can come on quickly and hang around for extended periods.  Those extended periods of cold can be hard on things, but what impact do they have on your septic system? Can they affect your well and your water system? And what can you do to limit any impact?

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CornSoyWater: An Online App to Aid in Irrigation Management

Traditional irrigation decision-making relies heavily on experience and requires frequent visits to the field. The process is time consuming and labor demanding, while the results are not quantitative and prone to error.

Login page of the CornSoyWater program

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Winter Watering

It’s hard to think about our plants in the winter months. It is even harder to realize that they are still alive and sometimes need care in the winter months. Once plants go dormant for the year many people believe that they need nothing until spring, but that isn’t always the case, especially in years with low or no snow or rain throughout the winter months.

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