Irrigation Advisory | Water Balance

The naked earth is warm with Spring. J. Grenfell



Production Agriculture

By adopting an adaptive management approach, policymakers acknowledge that their actions may be modified over time as better information becomes available. Lack of knowledge should not be an excuse for inaction, but the limits of knowledge and the assumptions underlying actions must be clearly acknowledged. – Mary C. Watzin

Best practices

  • Salinity issues are exacerbated by poor irrigation efficiency.  Improve irrigation efficiency for effective, efficient salinity management.
  • More and more, planning and land stewardship includes cover crops.
  • Cover crops reduce soil erosion and increase nutrient-use efficiency.
  • Research shows alfalfa’s ability to remove nitrate-nitrogen in 10 feet of soil by 90% over 4-5 year crop life (Vocasek and Zupanic, 1995).
  • Minimum-till and planting on flats, with borders, is increasingly popular, perhaps for the observed benefits.



  • Producers make fertilizer purchase decisions under certain uncertainty because crop prices and growing conditions are not known till harvest time.
  • Establishing farm baseline test plots can help you know how well your farm can utilize the most limiting nutrients.
  • Seek uniformity across all similar farming conditions of each farm (assuming there are more than one). WaterBalance can help. 
  • New varieties should be continually evaluated.


 Water Use Efficiency

  • Sampling of soil water from the bottom of the known (expected?) active root zone, analyzing/utilzing chloride as a free "marker" offers a practical means to quantify producer's water use efficiencies. Click: B. Sanden for a Technical Memorandum.

  • Irrigation management advisory services will need to achieve dramatic advances in analytic capabilities in the span of a decade or two.  Marshall English (OSU), Decennial Irrigation Conference Proceedings, 2010.