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Wise Water Use; New irrigation, economic management tools launched

Wise Water Use; New irrigation, economic management tools launched

Helped along by years of Texas Tech research input, two new tools to aid West Texas farmers in making improved irrigation decisions have been released to the public, officials with the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation said today (Mar. 15). The irrigation and economic management tools, which are free and available online, include:

Irrigation Scheduling. To assist irrigated producers in determining a more refined irrigation schedule, the tool incorporates a checkbook-style water balance register.
• The register enables producers to determine when and how much water to apply during an irrigation event. The tool includes key inputs that would affect irrigation decisions.
• Weather information is collected from more than 55 Texas Tech Mesonet weather stations to automatically calculate and update the soil water balance for specific crops.

Resource Allocation Analyzer. The tool provides agronomic planning options to maintain profitability and sustainability in irrigated row crop agriculture.
• The tool presents options for cropping systems to maximize per-acre profits at the field or farm level.
• Information about expected commodity prices, production costs and water availability is utilized and crop-yield relationships, irrigation capacity and crop contracting options are accounted for by the tool.

Texas Alliance for Water Conservation officials note that the new tools were designed from five years of research, along with input from project partners Texas Tech University, Texas AgriLife Extension, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District #1.

“Several Texas Tech College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources’ faculty were involved in the development of these tools,” said David Doerfert, associate chairman and professor with Tech’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications.

The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation project utilizes on-farm demonstration sites, including cropping and livestock systems, to identify the various production practices, technologies and systems that help maintain individual farm profitability while improving water usage efficiency. One of the main goals of this project is to extend the life of the Ogallala Aquifer, while maintaining the viability of local farms and communities.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Rick Kellison, project director, Texas Alliance for Water Conservation, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2774 or

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