Lower Rio Grande Valley row crop growers have a chance to learn practical ways to maximize efficiency and productivity in furrow irrigated production at a half-day education program Oct. 16 in Weslaco.
The Texas Water Resources Institute, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Water Development Board are co-hosting the program.
Registration and coffee is at 7:30 a.m. at the Texas A&M Kingsville Citrus Center, 312 N. International Blvd. The event is free, but attendees are required to preregister here by Oct. 10.
Dr. Lucas Gregory, Texas Water Resources Institute senior research scientist, College Station, said the program will begin with a keynote presentation from Dr. Jason Krutz, director of the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute.
“His presentation will cover maximizing profitability and reducing water use in furrow irrigated fields using a combination of technology and management approaches proven effective in the Mississippi Delta,” he said.
Gregory said there is a common misconception that furrow irrigation is not efficient, but integrating new technologies into a furrow irrigation system has proven otherwise.
“While the location may be different, the approach is similar and some of the lessons learned in Mississippi are applicable to the Valley,” he said.
Gregory said a panel of local producers will discuss some unique factors impacting irrigation in the Valley and the challenges they pose when considering application of irrigation methods used in the southeast.
“This will provide a great opportunity for all producers present to interact with each other and engage the speakers in valuable discussion,” he said.
Mac Young, AgriLife Extension risk management program specialist in Corpus Christi, will highlight irrigation management to improve yields and economics in the Valley.
Brad Cowan, AgriLife Extension agent for Hidalgo County, said brief agency program updates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board will be provided.
“The updates always provide useful information to producers about some of the technical and financial assistance sources available to them,” Cowan said.
Dr. Askar Karimov, a research associate in Texas A&M University’s biological and agricultural engineering department, will wrap up the program by providing a brief overview of a Texas Water Resources Institute-led Rio Grande Basin project. The project is evaluating how the use of available water resources within the basin can be optimized to provide the greatest societal return to help sustain agricultural production while promoting economic development, increasing water-use efficiency and improving valuable ecosystem services.
Funding for this event is provided by the Texas Water Development Board through an Agricultural Water Conservation Grant to AgriLife Extension.