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Irrigation Efficiencies Help Determine Success

Nebraska Irrigation Efficiencies Help Determine Success

(Portions of this story used with permission from “Nebraska Farmer “magazine.)

Reed McClymont, a farmer in south central Nebraska, has a long history of installing conservation practices.  He learned firsthand about the benefits of natural resource conservation while working with his dad and uncle on their farms.  When McClymont started farming on his own, he began installing conservation practices on his crop and range land. 

In 2012, when Nebraska experienced one of the worst droughts in history, McClymont focused on conserving water on his operation.  Recently, one of the major water conservation measures he adopted on his farm is converting from gravity irrigation to center pivots or sprinkler irrigation.  McClymont received technical and financial assistance to make this conversion through OAI.

“There are a lot of reasons for the conversion,” McClymont says.  “Net profit is the most important reason.  We had $18.52 less energy expenses per acre under our center pivots than we did under gravity irrigation.”

Switching farmers from gravity to center pivot systems can result in significant gains in water use efficiency.

“We know we’ve reduced our irrigation water usage by at least 50 percent with the center pivots, McClymont says.  “With the pivots we’re also more efficient in getting water to the plants in a uniform manner.  There was a nine-bushel-an-acre corn yield difference favoring the center pivots.”

McClymont’s conservation efforts impact Nebraska residents and everyone else dependent on the Ogallala Aquifer.  NRCS’s work with private landowners can have a significant impact on Nebraska’s natural resources since more than 95 percent of the state is privately owned.  Each landowner who works with NRCS to protect natural resources helps his or her own operation as well as the entire Ogallala Aquifer.

McClymont says, “If something makes my business more profitable and helps the environment, I want to take advantage of that.”