NDSU Extension irrigation workshop set in December

NDSU Extension
Farm Forum

Sessions on mapping aquifers using airborne electromagnetic surveys and technical innovations for irrigation management will be the highlights of the North Dakota State University Extension irrigation workshop being held Dec. 6 in Bismarck, N.D.

“Of the 17 western states, North Dakota has the fewest irrigated acres,” NDSU Extension agricultural engineer Tom Scherer says. “However, since 1990, private investment by farmers has slowly increased the irrigated acres every year.”

In 1990, North Dakota had about 190,000 irrigated acres, and now it has about 300,000 actively irrigated acres. During the last 10 years, the state has gained an average of 2,500 new irrigated acres each year.

“The competition for good-quality water sources is increasing every year, so using new technology to better define the water resources of the state is very important,” Scherer says. “Access to good-quality water for expanding irrigated acres will become more difficult in the future. However, with a reliable water source, investing in irrigation is a great hedge against drought periods during the growing season.”

Irrigation provides more consistent crop production on a year-to-year basis, allows growth of crops needing longer growing seasons, diversifies the farm enterprise and provides a consistent supply of forage for animal operations, he notes.

The workshop is in the Grand Pacific Room at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel. It will be held in conjunction with the North Dakota Water Users Association convention. NDSU Extension and the North Dakota Irrigation Association sponsor the workshop. An irrigation exposition for suppliers to display their products and services will be held at the same time.

The registration fee of $30 is payable at the door and includes lunch.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and workshop presentations begin at 8:30 a.m.

Topics for the morning session include using airborne electromagnetic surveys to map aquifers, irrigation development along the McClusky Canal, experiences with variable-rate irrigation and variable-frequency motor drives, the lower Yellowstone irrigation district fish bypass project, and updates from the Oakes and Nesson Valley irrigation research sites.

The North Dakota Irrigation Association will hold its annual meeting in the same room from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The workshop’s afternoon session will have a presentation on measuring soil moisture to determine irrigation needs, followed by a special session on technical innovations in irrigation management. Representatives from several companies will present on their current technology and where it may lead in the next few years. For more information about the workshop, contact Scherer at 701-231-7239 or