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New irrigation app from MU Extension helps increase yields

Writer:

Linda Geist
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185
Email: GeistLi@missouri.edu

Published: Monday, Dec. 19, 2016

Story source:

Gene Stevens, 573-379-5431

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Farmers using irrigation will benefit from a new University of Missouri Extension web application.

MU Extension agronomist Gene Stevens says producers can register for the free Crop Water Use (CWU) web app at www.cropwater.org. In several watersheds in Missouri, the application will help growers qualify for financial incentives from the Natural Resources Conservation Service by adopting weather-based irrigation scheduling.

Subscribers receive a dedicated account and website link they can share with farm employees who control irrigation pumps. The application can be used on both mobile devices and desktop computers.

CWU estimates crop water use based on data from MU Extension weather stations across the state. Rainfall is estimated from the National Weather Service grid based on latitude and longitude.

Crop evapotranspiration (the amount of water lost from plants and soil through evaporation) is calculated from weather data and predicted crop growth stage. Required data in the setup include field location from Google Maps and factors such as soil texture, crop type, planting date, rooting depth and irrigation method.

Growth stages are predicted from crop heat units for corn, rice and cotton. Calendar days are used for soybeans. A dryness index warns when soil water deficits are near the irrigation trigger for each field. A unique feature of the application is the projection of irrigation needs in each field for the coming week. This helps with spraying, cultivating and labor decisions.

For more information, go to www.cropwater.org.