Taking The Guesswork Out Of Irrigation

May 23, 2023

Taking The Guesswork Out Of Irrigation

Article by Ross Benisch

Now that most of the crops are planted, it is time to start looking at some of the benefits that Ag Tech tools can provide by taking the guesswork out your irrigation and nitrogen side dress decisions to help you maximize your profitability.   

AquaSpy soil moisture probes are a proven, high-quality probe that we’ve offered since 2016.  Their multi-sensor probe provides real-time analysis of soil moisture, nutrient movement, and soil temperature every 4” through a 48” profile. Their easy-to-read dashboard interprets the data into a simple soil moisture gauge that also shows how deep the roots are pulling moisture from and how far the last irrigation or rain event really soaked in. Their mobile app also lets you easily view the data anytime. The benefit most growers receive is that they typically save 1-2 irrigation passes, usually near the beginning or at the end, and with each pass roughly costing about $1000, the probe most often pays for itself in cost savings along, not to mention that most receive an added yield bump from making sure the plant always receives the proper amount of water. The probe cost $1,850 the first year then $1,100 every following year.  AquaSpy probes also qualify for a 3-year EQIP program where you can receive about $1500 per year. Click here to learn more about AquaSpy.

VariMax’s Water-Check and N-Check tools are another great option for irrigation and nitrogen management.  Water-Check is all model-based meaning there is no actual sensor placed in the field. By utilizing high-definition satellite imagery to assess the condition of the crop, DTN weather modeling to determine the current evapotranspiration rate, and a soil texture analysis to determine the water holding capacity of the soil, Water-Check accurately provides the current available moisture in the top two feet of your soil. The cost of Water-Check by itself is $5.50/ac, making it a much more affordable option than traditional soil moisture sensors, especially on smaller fields.   

N-Check utilizes the same high-definition satellite imagery and DTN weather information, compiled with your current plant population, previous nitrogen credits, and your historical yield history to provide a nitrogen use efficiency correction factor that is unique to each field and each year. N-Check can provide one time, fertigation/side dress recommendations as well as for multiple nitrogen passes for either flat rate or vrt application. N-Check is $6.00/ac by itself, or you can have access to both tools on the same field for $9.00/ac, all from the convenience of their easy-to-use mobile app.  Click here to learn more about the VariMax suite of tools.  VariMax (varimaxsystems.com) 

In a year where every decision can create wide variability in profitability, I challenge you to look at trying something new on two to three fields that I know well help you be more successful in 2023.