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Water in the News

October 6, 2014

Irrigation is next frontier in precision agriculture
Southeast Farm Press

Many of the original precision agriculture technologies are approaching maturity, so the time is right for farmers to use the advancements to better apply and use water on the farm. “We’ve been using them for a number of years now to measure crop response and to do variable rate applications of fertilizers, plant growth regulators, defoliants on cotton and other inputs,” said George Vellidis, University of Georgia crop and soil sciences professor and head of the Vellidis Research Group at UGA. “So the next big challenge is to address the parameter that affects all crops, and that’s water.”

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A decade of conservation effects assessment research by the USDA Agricultural Research Service: Progress overview and future outlook
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation

Ten years ago, the USDA Agricultural Research Service began a series of watershed assessment studies as part of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project. In this overview, a decade of research progress in 14 watersheds dominated by rain-fed croplands is reviewed to introduce a special section of this journal issue containing papers describing multiwatershed syntheses. The papers evaluate impacts of agricultural practices on soil quality, stream sediment sources, and the role of climate variability in watershed studies and conservation assessments at the watershed scale.

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Development of a new long-term drought resilient soil water retention technology
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation

Increasing frequencies of drought coupled with increasing populations are requiring more water for irrigated agriculture. As global populations approach 9 billion by 2050, even more water will be required to produce an estimated 60 percent to 70 percent more food. Production of these greater quantities of food require, at current water use efficiency rates, 50 percent more water. Consequently, the growing demand for food and fiber combined with dwindling water supplies (in terms of both quantity and quality) available for agricultural irrigation require new soil technologies that conserve water.

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Using local lakes to safeguard regional water quality
Ag Professional

Isolated lakes in the Mississippi Delta can be transformed into farmer-friendly landscape features that trap agricultural pollutants, according to research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These findings by Agricultural Research Service ecologist Richard Lizotte and his colleagues can help producers control the impacts of field runoff on downstream water bodies as far as the Gulf of Mexico.

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Louisiana agriculture officials ask FAA for new rules for drones
LSU AgCenter

The Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of changing rules and regulations regarding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. This is of particular interest to the agricultural interests in the state because the agriculture community has embraced this new technology and found many valuable uses for it. For example, if a farmer can fly a camera over a field to check on the progress of flood irrigation water flow, then he can determine exactly when to turn off the pump. This simple operation could save water resources, reduce energy costs of pumping, and more effectively manage nutrients in the field.

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