On-Farm Practices

For many farmers, the low price of water means expensive irrigation technologies are not likely to be installed. The research at Texas AWE has focused on finding readily achievable ways of conserving water on-farm. These methods involve modifying current practices rather than promoting completely new ways of irrigating.

The project has documented low-cost methods for managing on-farm water that actually improve product quality and enhance net farm income.

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Narrow Border Flood & Surge Valves

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas AWE has proven that “narrow border flood” (NBF) irrigation for citrus uses half as much water as traditional “large-pan flood” irrigation while producing more than double the amount of Net Cash Farm Income (NCFI). NBF can produce similar results in other laser-leveled orchards and nut groves.

Detailed findings on NBF, surge valves, and other on-farm research funded by Texas AWE are provided in a series of FARM Assistance Focus reports published by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Training Center

Hands-on training in low-cost, efficient irrigation techniques is available at the project's Rio Grande Center for Ag Water Efficiency.

This facility was built from the grant funds that are used to assist growers and district operators understand the latest technology.

Research: Practical Results

Here's the acutal findings from years of research. Explore the irrigation methods of furrow, drip, narrow border, and surge. Also the increased Net Farm Cash Income (NCFI) and pricing metrics with the modified irrigation techniques.

All articles courtesy of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service publication FARM Assistance Focus.

· Increased Water Use Efficiency and Profitability in Citrus Production Possible in the Lower Rio Grande Valley December 2013

Results indicate that the highest net cash farm income (NCFI) was with border flood.

· Water Savings and Higher Profit Margins Possible in Cotton and Other Field Crops in the Lower Rio Grande Valley: December 2013

Demonstration results indicate that incentives to invest and adopt surge irrigation currently exist and improve as water prices increase.

· Furrow vs. Surge Irrigation in Sugar Cane: May 2013

An evaluation of the economic viability of water conservation practices, comparing surge vs. furrow irrigation in sugar cane, to identify cost-effective and efficient water delivery systems, especially in times of limited water availability.

· Furrow vs. Surge Irrigation in Cotton: March 2011

An economic assessment of furrow and surge irrigation as efficient water delivery systems in cotton production in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, assuming restricted water availability.

· Evaluation of Flood Irrigation and Compost Use: September 2010

An evaluation of flood irrigation and compost use in South Texas grapefruit production. Under flood irrigation, composting may have a NCFI and cash flow advantage over not using compost in citrus production.

· Assessing Irrigation Methods: August 2010

An assessment of irrigation methods on grapefruit in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The results indicate that border flood may have a NCFI and cost advantage over flood, drip and micro-jet irrigation systems in grapefruit production when evaluated using fresh vs. juice pack-out as a barometer.

· New Orchard Establishment: July 2009

An evaluation of flood and 1-line drip irrigation for new orchard establishment for grapefruit in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The results reflect a probable 16-17 year pay-out for both the flood and 1-line drip irrigation systems based on average yields and 2009 dollars.

· 2-Line Drip and Micro-Jet Spray Irrigation: July 2008

An evaluation of 2-line drip and micro-jet spray irrigation for grapefruit in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The demonstration sites reflect profitable use of 2-line drip and micro-jet spray technology in irrigated production of Red Rio grapefruit.

· 1-Line Drip and Micro-Jet Spray Irrigation: July 2008

An evaluation of 1-line drip and micro-jet spray irrigation for grapefruit in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Both systems illustrate potential water application and irrigation cost scenarios.

· Impact of Volumetric Water Pricing for Seed Corn: October 2007

A study of the impact of volumetric water pricing for seed corn comparing surge versus furrow irrigation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Surge technology has potential for water savings in seed corn production, compared to furrow irrigation.

· Narrow Border Flood and 2-Line Drip Irrigation: October 2007

An analysis of narrow border flood and 2-line irrigation for oranges in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The demonstration sites reflect profitable use of both methods in irrigated production of oranges.

· Narrow Border Flood and Micro-Jet Spray Irrigation: August 2007

An analysis of narrow border flood and micro-jet spray irrigation for grapefruit in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The demonstration sites reflect profitable use of both methods in irrigated Rio Red grapefruit production.

· Surge Irrigation Illustration for Cotton: April 2007

An evaluation of surge irrigation for cotton in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. All three demonstration sites reflect profitable use of surge valve technology in irrigated cotton production.

· Volumetric Water Pricing for Cotton: April 2007

A look at the impact of volumetric water pricing for cotton comparing furrow versus drip irrigation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Drip technology shows potential for water savings in cotton production.

· Volumetric Water Pricing for Cotton: December 2006

A look at the impact of volumetric water pricing for cotton comparing furrow versus surge irrigation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. A surge valve technology demonstration suggests potential water savings in cotton production.

· Volumetric Water Pricing for Sugarcane: December 2006

A look at the impact of volumetric water pricing for sugarcane comparing furrow versus surge irrigation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. A surge valve technology demonstration suggests potential water savings in sugarcane production.

Irrigation Methods

Increased Water Use Efficiency and Profitability in Citrus Production Possible in the Lower Rio Grande Valley December 2013
Results indicate that the highest net cash farm income (NCFI) was with border flood.