In 2014, the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board (MSPB) launched an initiative to curtail the amount of water withdrawn from the Delta alluvial aquifer to irrigate crops.
The Sustainable Irrigation Project (SIP) 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.
The project has three phases. The first phase expanded the commitment of members of the MSPB, the Mississippi Corn Promotion board, the Mississippi Rice Promotion Board and the Mississippi Rice Council to use water conservation tools such as Pipe Hole and Universal Crown Evaluation Tool, or Pipe Planner, and surge valves on furrow-irrigated corn and soybeans; multiple/side inlet water application to rice; zero grade for flood irrigated rice and soybeans; tail-water recovery from surface-irrigated crops; center pivot irrigation; and soil moisture sensors.
The second phase of the initiative implored the participation of the Yazoo Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District, Delta Council, Delta F.A.R.M., Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The third phase of SIP is ongoing through MSPB-sponsored farmer meetings throughout the Delta to discuss the use of the water conservation tools. These meetings feature Mississippi State University (MSU) researchers and specialists who present results from their current irrigation studies and projects that are conducted throughout the state.
For example, MSPB and Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board (ASPB) partnered with Delta Plastics to create a how-to video that helps farmers take the guesswork out of furrow irrigation by demonstrating how to use PipePlanner. The video helps farmers determine precisely what size holes to punch in their polypipe and how long their system needs to operate to replenish water in the root zone.
MSPB is also providing significant financial support to MSU irrigaiton specialist, Jason Krutz’s, Row-Crop Irrigation Science Extension and Research (RISER) Program.
MSPB continues taking big steps toward limiting the amount of water drawn from the alluvial aquifer for agricultural irrigation. Under SIP, MSPB continues to highlight and promote the use of practices and tools that will reduce the amount of irrigation water applied to the state’s crop acres, which is why farmers across Mississippi have committed to the program and are becoming more involved in the irrigation-water-conservation effort. Farmers can visit mssoy.org for more information on SIP and sustainable irrigation practices.