Importance of irrigation
With more than 125,000 acres of irrigated farmland (25% of total farmed acres) in Delaware, irrigation is an essential part of our agricultural economy. Farmers are constantly looking for new technologies to improve irrigation efficiency, minimize negative environmental affects and maximize yields. Too much irrigation can adversely influence crop yields, leach nutrients and wastes water. Conversely, too little irrigation reduces yields and can concentrate nutrients in the soil that may affect watershed quality.
In workshops, field tours and at the Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown and the Warrington Irrigation Research Farm in Harbeson, extension professionals, scientists, engineers and researchers continue to look for ways improve irrigation efficiency and respond to the strong need for expanded irrigation resources.
This shared knowledge allows farmers to learn their local soil characteristics and the most effective way for crops to utilize the applied water and improve nutrient use efficiencies. Cooperative Extension offers growers site instruction on system calibration, irrigation scheduling, in-depth reviews of high-tech moisture sensor equipment, and testing of advanced irrigation techniques.
The recent addition of an 18-acre subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) research facility and the modification of a four- tower center pivot system to include variable rate irrigation (VRI) technology will continue to improve the research and extension capabilities of the UD irrigation team well into the future.