Farmers use new valves for efficient irrigation

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

RANDOLPH COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Randolph County farmers are using new technology to more efficiently water their fields, hoping to conserve resources.

It is the second year that farmers in the area have used solar-powered surge valves.

Mike Andrews, the staff chair for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Office in Randolph County, said they are being used on different row crops in the area including peanuts, soybeans, and corn.

The surge valve alternates water flow to different segments of the field throughout the day, using a type of rudder.

"With that, we get water soaking down into the field," Andrews said.

The technology helps them conserve water and use all of their resources, including energy and fuel, in the most effective way.  It also helps the entire row bed to fill with water.

"We don't have to water near as often that way," Andrews said. "When we fill that soil profile up we can go a little bit longer without having to irrigate."

They also use software that helps them map the field and decide what size holes to cut in the irrigation line.

"The water will run out of the field on each row at about the same time and we don't have the short rows running out for 12 hours and wasting that water," Andrews said.

He said the ultimate goal is to be more efficient and improve the farmer's yield.

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