Tech Show for Soil Moisture Probes

(Dr. (Duane Roth) I’m Duane Roth. I farm here in northwest Finney County. Today we put this demonstration on, a small tech show for soil moisture probes. We feel that there are so many out there right now that this is going to give a farmer an opportunity to view probes which will best fit his farm to manage and conserve a little bit of water in a future growing season. We’re just putting together the tech farms and hopefully, more people start coming to them. It’s hard, guys are busy, it’s hard to get up away from your job, or your work, what you’re doing on the farm but just keep further demonstrating. I guess the key is going to be the data gathering information. It’s really going to take data to show we can reduce this and still have a profitable margin on the farm. (Nick Hatcher) I’m a farmer producer locally in Liberal Kansas, farms all around liberal. Been there my whole life. Grow mostly corn, a little bit alfalfa, wheat and every once in a while potatoes. The technology farm that we’re planning has a wide variety of aspects to it. Initially, my whole entire farm is an experiment right now. One of the things that we’re most focused on is trying to eliminate wheel track issues. A lot of the problems we have are when we shut a sprinkler off, so we get a large rain and trying to get those machines started back up, sometimes I’ll take half a day or a day to get those unstuck and these large farms have quite a few pivots and if you have a large percentage of those stuck you’re risking that crop on some of those fields that you get to at the last minute. We’re trying to eliminate that so that we can be more efficient with being able to shut our sprinklers off when we need to and be able to start those back up. (Duane) In the last 10 years, in our area where we farm, the Ogallala has dropped to about 70 feet. You know last year we had adequate rainfall over 20 inches. We had surface water and we still drop two foot in some areas. We’re going to have to find a solution to lessen the decrease every year from pumping of the Ogallala. (Nick) One of the things that we are going to have soil probes on our farm and one of the things that we plan on doing with that is being more efficient with our water. When the soil or when the crop actually tells us it’s time that we need to water, we want to be there and have the water accessible to that crop. We also want to be able to shut that sprinkler off when necessary. There’s other technologies that we’re trying as well and we’ve got a wide variety of probes, other sensing technology for the crops themselves and trying to manage our wheel tracks are basically the two main operations that we’re going to try to accomplish with our tech farm. (Duane) I’m hopeful where this will go down the road for water conservation is that just for the future generations that are coming back here to western Kansas, we do got the ability to further the Ogallala, we got the technology we just have to implement it. It’s going to have to be a united team deal to do it and so trying to get everybody to do it. Everybody’s willing; it just takes time to get the message out. (Nick) Well, we’ve already started some of our wheel track mitigation right now and we are planning on here in the next 30 days probably having some of the sensing technology for the crops themselves and to have some of these water probes put in place. Here within the next 30 days hopefully we’ll have this technology farm at least started in operation but maybe not technically on paper but it has already begun. (Duane) I guess it will come back to boots on the ground you know we’re the ones.

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