Harvest 2012: Irrigation Key Factor in Yields

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email

Agronomists say the easiest way to summarize Nebraska crop yields is to say they're all over the map.

UNL Extension Educator for Hall County Mark Hinze says the difference between a disaster and a good field has been irrigation, but he says it can only help so much.

"Our irrigation is meant really to supplement our crop productivity, not as a replacement for rainfall," says Hinze. "Rainfall is the best, this year we're just lacking and so as a consequence our yields are a little bit depressed overall."

Soybean officials say that irrigation has helped some of their producers improve their yields this year too, but one drought-related thing that's keeping them out of the fields right now is a maturity difference being found from bean to bean.

Nebraska Soybean Board Chair Greg Greving says waiting for the immature beans to catch up won't effect yield. He says that's being impacted by irrigation efficiency.

"If you were a little short of water, then you might be a little short of yield this year, and that's just on a farm to farm basis, and even on different areas of the farm," says Greving.

He says high soybean prices are being driven by global issues right now, but officials say consumers may yet feel an impact from the drought of 2012.

"This year is an abnormal year in that we've had a lot of stress for moisture and this has caused a domino effect, if you will, for our livestock industry as well," Hinze says.

But Hinze says with stalk availability and good grazing management, ag producers will be able to look forward to next year.

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