The corn irrigation project

Posted on Sep 8, 2017 in Featured, News, Projects | Comments Off

Let’s talk about the twenty acres of irrigated corn we grew this summer. In these photos you can see the difference between the corn that was watered and the corn that wasn’t at the end of August. The plants are taller and still green and growing, and the cobs are bigger in the irrigated part of the field. Early in August the rest of the non-irrigated corn was cut for corn silage to make feed for the cows for this year. The ten acres that look brown here will be combined for grain, and the irrigated corn was cut for silage around the beginning of September.

 

Money for purchasing the supplies and infrastructure (big valves, roll flat and the tiny plastic drip lines) came from CRMF donations.

With the exception of the disposable plastic drip lines, everything is put away to use again next year.

Garry tells me the water we used in the field cost about two thousand dollars to buy from the pipeline (it was metered- that’s another thing we bought- a meter!).

The roll flat- it looks like firefighters lines, was rolled up before the corn was harvested.
Last week they rolled up the roll flat before the field was harvested, this week after the corn was off the field the guys pulled up the disposable lines. They baled them up yesterday to get rid of it. We actually can sell the bales of used plastic tubing for recycling.

 

Was irrigation worthwhile?
Yes! 

Look how tall the corn is compared to the regular fields. While chopping this field they had to drive 3 km per hour because the plants were so tall with thick foliage and the tractor was working hard the whole time. Some places they had to slow down even more.
The other fields they chopped for silage they went 7 (as fast as they could) and the tractor was not working hard at all.

Next year they believe they can irrigate more using the same equipment, (except for buying new rolls of drip-line plastic tubing). They decided they could have done more of the brown part of the field, because of the slope of the field it was easier to pump water than they were told, so the lay flat did not have to be as close together. They are trying to trade fields with a neighbor to get the next field over for next year, so they could have even more acres at this site.

They may be able to irrigate a different field that we farm, if they can get to the pipeline there since it runs under it. If they can locate the metal part (some of it is cement underground)and  tap in and put a meter to water that field, too.  I am told if we can get 50 acres of corn under irrigation , we can get the same yield as 160 acres of regular corn. Corn silage is a big part of what the cows eat everyday, so this would be great to know there will be a good crop, no matter how dry the summer is.