For 2022 many farmers may be searching for ways to reduce their production costs when irrigating while at the same time boosting yield. Wes Porter, University of Georgia precision ag and irrigation specialist, recommends for farmers to check over their irrigation system for any preventative maintenance and utilize one of the scientifically proven irrigation scheduling methods throughout the season to make sure they do not have down time from breakdowns and are efficiently applying the correct amount of water when needed.
The University of Georgia Extension’s Mobile Irrigation Lab (MIL) program can even set up and perform a pivot test for farmers. Farmers should check their irrigation system first for issues and if they notice uniformity problems or uneven quantities of water application, then it might be time to contact the MIL for a pivot test.
“Weather conditions are variable, can be difficult to plan for, and have a large impact on crop growth, development, and yield,” says Wes Porter, “Farmers must find ways to adapt to changing conditions and manage the crop in these conditions.”
To aid farmers, many years of research has been conducted on various irrigation scheduling methods. One of the most commonly used scheduling methods is the UGA Checkbook method which was developed based on historical evapotranspiration averages, thus, is not an exact fit for years that are either wetter or drier than normal as it will over and under predict water need in those years respectively. The total estimated water requirement from the UGA Checkbook for peanuts is 18” inches.
Additionally, advanced methods for peanuts include PeanutFARM.org, Irrigator Pro or soil moisture sensors to estimate actual crop water needs. For more information on these irrigation scheduling methods, farmers should contact their local county Extension agent.