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MSPB Launches SIP 2014

Recently, the MSPB launched SIP 2014 (Sustainable Irrigation Project 2014) to address the need to curtail the amount of water that is withdrawn from the Delta alluvial aquifer to irrigate Mississippi crops. The SIP 2014 initiative is designed to highlight and promote the use of practices and management tools that will result in a reduction in the amount of irrigation water that is applied to the state’s irrigated crop acres.

First Phase. This phase of the project involved soliciting and documenting the present and future commitment of the members of the MSPB, the Mississippi Corn Promotion Board (MCPB), the Mississippi Rice Promotion Board, and the Mississippi Rice Council to using water conservation tools such as:

●           PHAUCET (click here, here, and here for details and description);

●           Surge valves on furrow-irrigated corn and soybeans;

●           Zero grade for flood irrigated rice and soybeans;

●           Tail-water recovery from surface-irrigated crops; and

●           Center pivot irrigation.

The total acres committed to the listed water conservation tools by members of the above commodity Boards is 102,310 as shown in the below table.

 Acreage committed to each water conservation tool for irrigation of soybeans, corn, and rice by:
Conservation tool MSPB MCPB Rice Board/Council Totals
PHAUCET 16,400 8,900 37,250 62,550
Surge Valve 2,600     2,600
Zero Grade 1,100   8,000 9,100
Side Inlet 3,050   7,800 10,850
Tail Water Recovery 1,100 1,000 7,050 9,150
Center Pivot 2,660 3,900 1,500 8,060

These numbers are a conservative commitment, especially for the use of PHAUCET. Many producers stated that they will apply this tool to more acres once they become familiar with its setup and use.

Several of the contacted individuals are already using one or more of these practices. Also, several of the contacted individuals are now using or are planning to develop surface water sources to replace water from existing ground wells, are continually land-forming to improve surface watering efficiency, and are continually increasing their acreage that is subject to tail water recovery.

Second Phase. The MSPB is in the process of contacting the Directors/Commissioners of other Mississippi agricultural organizations–Yazoo Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District, Delta Council, Delta F.A.R.M., Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, and NRCS–to solicit their participation in this program. Their commitment to using the above-mentioned tools on their irrigated acres will be documented in the same manner as for the above three groups.

Third Phase. Future activities of SIP 2014 involve the MSPB taking the lead in supporting and promoting training efforts for producers and consultants who have not yet become familiar with or adopted any of the above conservation tools. This portion of the project will involve any of the above organizations that choose to participate.

This phase has already started. For example, the MSPB is supporting a PHAUCET video that has started production and that will be instrumental in getting users acquainted with this tool, what input factors are needed, and how to implement it on their furrow-irrigated acres. The MSPB is also providing significant financial support to the educational programs (MSPB Project 55-2013) that Dr. Jason Krutz, MCES Irrigation Specialist at the MSU-DREC, is now conducting and will continue to conduct during the coming months.

The rapid voluntary adoption of the above and other water conservation techniques and technologies should provide a significant contribution toward conserving the Delta’s water resources as well as increasing irrigation efficiency and lowering producer costs. The above commitment of the farmer leaders on these Boards to this effort provides a meaningful impetus toward increasing the adoption of these and other practices that will conserve water and sustain the Delta’s irrigation capability.

For more information on this and other MSPB projects and initiatives, view past blogs on this website.

Composed by Larry G. Heatherly, Sept. 2013,