Drip Irrigation Workshop Offers Farmers Options to Increase Profits

July 12, 2012

PIKETON, Ohio – Specialty fruit and vegetable crop producers looking to gain a better understanding of how drip irrigation can boost on-farm profits have the opportunity to attend an Ohio State University Extension drip irrigation workshop on July 19.

The workshop will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at OSU South Centers in Piketon, 1864 Shyville Road. Registration is $5.

The workshop will feature Brad Bergefurd, an OSU Extension horticulturist, who will discuss drip irrigation techniques, implementation and management.

Topics he will speak on include; the benefits of drip irrigation; what parts are needed for a system; what water sources work; how to install a system; how to fertilize with drip irrigation; and drip irrigation scheduling.

“Drip irrigation is an insurance against periods of dry weather or drought like we are currently experiencing in parts of Ohio,” he said.  “Specialty crops are such short-lived crops that they cannot go without the necessary 1 inch of water per week or else quality and yield will be lost.

“Growers who grow specialty crops can have over $10,000 per acre invested in a crop before their first harvest. Irrigation is insurance that the crop will be successful.”

This is significant, considering that the majority of Ohio is experiencing moderate drought, with areas in the western and northwest areas of the state near the Indiana border experiencing severe drought as of July 10, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor.

The workshop will also showcase an irrigation demonstration unit, complete with 15 different system components.

Researchers at OSU South Centers at Piketon established the drip irrigation research and education unit, in partnership with the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative of The Negev Foundation, to evaluate new irrigation technology.

Israel is a world leader in agricultural technology with special expertise in irrigation, Bergefurd said. As the country presents unique climate and soil challenges, Israel’s agriculture specialists have developed advanced processes and technology for farming.

“Drip irrigation allows farmers to efficiently irrigate crops by optimizing water flow rates and targeting plant roots that result in enhanced production, water conservation, reduction of fertilizer usage, and elimination of water runoff and ground water contamination with an economic advantage to the farmer,” he said, noting that such technology could be useful to Ohio growers.

In addition to the irrigation demonstration unit, Bergefurd will demonstrate basic trickle irrigation set-up and operations management.

For more information or to register, contact Charissa McGlothin at 740-289-2071, ext. 132 or email mcglothin.4@osu.edu.

Author(s): 
Julie Moose, Tracy Turner
Source(s): 
Julie Moose