What Your Soil Health Could Mean for Your Irrigation System
May 6, 2022
When it comes to producing strong yields, your soil is a key player in the process. Whether you grow corn, cotton, soybeans, sugar cane or specialty crops, healthy soil can make all the difference.
Evaluate seasonal needs and strategies
As you gear up for the growing season, it can be beneficial to examine your soil from multiple perspectives. This pause can let your gather more information and answer questions such as:
- What does the data show from last year’s yields? Throughout history, growers have made careful observations and changes in response to trends, including weather patterns, pests or pathogens.
- How did cover crops impact overall soil health? This holistic method of soil management helps build soil health naturally, such as restoring balance with nitrogen-fixing cover crops or adding organic matter to heavy soils with cereal rye.
- How will off-season precipitation affect planting conditions? With shifting weather patterns, growers have continued to closely watch conditions before planting begins — and throughout the growing season.
- What changes do you need to plan for? The seasonal crop of choice, combined with soil conditions pre- or post-harvest, will guide soil nutrient needs for additional nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) or potassium (K).
- How does current soil health impact your irrigation needs? Your soil type (sand vs. clay vs. loam) can differ from field to field—and even within fields—and each has its own water and nutrition needs that can be addressed through advanced irrigation techniques and equipment.
Test to determine your soil health
Evaluating or testing your soil prior to planting can give you a better understanding of current conditions, such as:
- Basic nutrient content across the field through grid or zone sampling
- Soil texture, organic matter composition and compaction
- Micronutrient deficiencies
- Presence of harmful organisms, such as soybean cyst nematodes
Tailor your irrigation program to soil conditions
Better understanding your soil health can help you better tailor your growing efforts or pinpoint the needs of your operation, especially when it comes to your irrigation operation.
The right amount of water in the right spots at the right moments in the growing cycle is critical to producing profitable, reliable yields. That’s where precision irrigation solutions like Zimmatic center pivot irrigation systems can help make every drop of water count. They can also help keep nutrients and amendments from being leached away, harmful runoff increasing, and crops from rotting or withering in the fields.
FieldNET helps take the guesswork out of managing your irrigation systems, no matter how sizable or diversified the territory, by providing the data and insights to drive smart choices. With it, you can measure, collect and analyze water needs to help create schedules and optimize your pivot irrigation system—in an instant—with your cell phone, desktop or tablet.
As you get planting this year, let us help you also start planning. Find your nearest Zimmatic dealer to discuss your needs and the right irrigation solution to meet them.