Changes in Water Management in Nebraska

One of the things we're being forced to learn how to do quickly out here in Nebraska is to learn when the crops are going need water and when. In the past, we could apply unlimited amounts of water, but this year we’re dealing with allocations and can only put on 10 to 10½ inches of water per year. We may have actually hurt ourselves before by putting on too much water too early and getting too much vegetative growth, and not putting enough into the reproduction stage.

So now we’re looking at doing some research on cutting back and letting the crop suffer and die through the vegetative growth stages and just pouring water on during the reproductive stages, which is different from what we have been doing. Once we get a handle on that, we'll see if we have to play with our nitrogen schedules on top of that.

We’re also doing a lot of work this year with some variable rates irrigation programs and some and remote soil probes, which are kind of exciting going forward to the next year. Jeremy is not just holding my hand through that — he's pretty much pulling me through. He’s telling me, “Hey we've got to do this once you get things up and rolling.”

This is the first year I've run any variable-rate prescriptions on any irrigation. Jeremy and I are working with CropMetrics, who are pretty much the leaders in VRI information. So we're not just going about it blindly; we’re dealing with some people who have some pretty good ideas of what's going on there. We’re excited to get some new information through working with them.