Irrigation Technology Important, But Mechanics Also Key To Water Management


January 20, 2021 | View PDF

Technology's role in agriculture is rising exponentially, but that doesn't mean there aren't other factors of equal importance, particularly in irrigation management. That's the message to be delivered by Dr. Thomas Scherer on Thursday, Jan. 28, in the second webinar of this year's 4th annual MonDak Ag Research Summit online seminar series.

"Over the last 15 years there have been many technological developments for more informed irrigation water management," Dr. Scherer, North Dakota State University, Fargo Extension agricultural engineer and associate professor in the agricultural and biosystems engineering department, notes. "However," he added, "quite often, the mechanical side of irrigation is not emphasized and inefficient or poorly working mechanical components can have a significant effect on crop yields and water management."

In his presentation entitled The Mechanical Aspects of Precision and Variable Rate Irrigation, Dr. Scherer will address methods for "maintaining or checking mechanical problems that can hinder good irrigation water management." His talk begins at 10 a.m. MST and 11 a.m. CST. Connection details are below.

The MonDak Ag Research Summit is coordinated by MSU's Eastern Agricultural Research Center and USDA ARS's Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab, both in Sidney; and NDSU's Williston Research Extension Center, Williston. Normally a one-day, in-person event, this year's MonDak Ag Research Summit was moved online due to COVID-19 and consists of a series of six webinars featuring keynote speakers addressing a variety of topics of interest to ag producers as well as shorter reports from local scientists on research results immediately applicable to MonDak area farmers and ranchers.

In addition to Dr. Scherer, the Jan. 28 webinar includes the following presenters and presentations:

• Irrigation study for sugar beet and pulse crops - Dr. Chengci Chen, MSU Eastern Agricultural Research Center, Sidney. Superintendent, PhD; cropping systems agronomist;

• Soil moisture sensors - Dr. Bart Stevens, Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, research leader (Agricultural Systems Unit) and research Agronomist (Irrigated), USDA-Agricultural Research Service; Sidney .

• Comparing tillage systems in an irrigation environment - Tyler Tjelde, NDSU Williston Research and Extension Center, irrigation Agronomist, Williston.

The webinar will conclude at 11:30 a.m. MST/12:30 p.m. CST. All interested persons are invited to take part in this webinar and anyone can join the day of the event by using the following (Zoom program) link:

Remaining webinar dates and keynote presentations in the 2021 MonDak Ag Research Summit webinar series include the following:

• Feb. 9: Managing Root Rot of Pulses - Dr. Mary Burrows, Montana State University Professor; plant sciences & plant pathology; assoc. director, Montana Ag Experiment Stations; Bozeman;

• Feb. 25: Weed Control Update in the MonDak - Dr. Brian Jenks, North Central Research Extension Center, weed scientist; Minot; North Dakota State University

• March 11: Seasonal Outlooks and Potential Climate Change Impacts for eastern MT and western ND - Patrick Gilchrist, NOAA, National Weather Service Station, warning coordination meteorologist/service coordination hydrologist, Glasgow, MT

• March 25: Topic: marketing; Title: pending; Keynote - Dr. Vincent Smith, Montana State University Professor, initiative for regulation and applied economic analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Bozeman;

Note, all webinars run from 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m. MST/11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CST and include opportunities to ask questions of the speakers during the live sessions. Also, pesticide applicator points for Montana participants will be available for those joining in our live webinars on Feb. 9 and Feb. 25. Sorry, viewing the subsequent recordings – also to be made available online – does not qualify for points.

Dr. Thomas Scherer

For questions or more information on this series, contact Beth Redlin, 406-433-9427; [email protected], or Violeta Hobbs, 701-774-4315; [email protected] or visit our website at


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