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- Eric Seidenberger is farming 2,950 acres — 2,150 in cotton, the rest in wheat, and also grazes Angus cattle on 3,000 acres of pasture. He irrigates 1,225 acres, 1,000 with subsurface drip, has a 125-acre pivot, and furrow waters 100 acres. He plans to put in another 100 acres of drip for the 2011 season.
- He installed his first drip irrigation in 2003, a 45-acre block. He says drip offers three distinct advantages: High Yields, Water use efficiency and Less labor.
Pre-watering to plant on 40-inch spacings takes as little as 4 inches of water, Seidenberger says. With 80-inch spaces, he may need 10 inches of pre-watering in a dry year to get the beds wet on both sides of the tape.
Most of his wells supply from 2 to 3 gallons per minute per acre. “Three gallons provides 15/100 inch per day for the crop. During peak moisture demand — blooming — cotton uses 3/10 inch a day. So during blooming, we are only giving the plant half of the water itneeds every day. We just hope we keep enough moisture in the soil profile to get us through or get a rain.”
He says 5 to 6 gallons per minute per acre is “ideal for drip irrigation to provide cotton all the water it needs through the season. We’re always behind — sometimes rain catches us up, but in-season we run the system all the time to stay where we need to be. Some farmers are using 1.5 to 2 gallons per minute per acre and still making good yields.”