Posted September 23, 2013
The Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board (MSPB) has announced an initiative to reduce the amount of water withdrawn from the Delta alluvial aquifer for irrigation, according to a Delta Farm Press article, available here.
The Sustainable Irrigation Project (SIP 2014) will “highlight and promote the use of practices and management tools that will result in a reduction in the amount of irrigation water that is applied to the state’s irrigated crop acres.”
The project is already underway in three phases. The first phase is to gain the commitment of members of the MSPB and Mississippi corn and rice producers to use water conservation tools including a pipe hole and universal crown evaluation tool (PHAUCET) and “surge valves on furrow-irrigated corn and soybeans; multiple/side inlet water application to rice; zero grade for flood irrigated rice and soybeans; tail-water recovery from surface irrigated crops; and center pivot irrigation.” The second phase is to solicit participation from Mississippi water management district, other farm groups, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The third phase, already underway, is for the MSPB to support programs to train producers on conservation tools.
The total acres committed to the conservation tools is 102,310.
Jan de Regt, MSPB chairman, said Mississippi checkoff dollars have been heavily invested in irrigation research over the last five years “resulting in water saving tools such as PHAUCET” which is being applied to a significant portion of the nearly 1 million acres of irrigated soybeans in the state.” De Regt said PHAUCET and other water conservation practices are “an integral part of the MSPB’s recent efforts to take the lead in improving irrigation efficiency and reducing irrigation water use by as much as 25 percent.”