Workshop helps farmers make irrigation decisions

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After a cropping year that ended in drought, the Michiana Irrigation Association will offer the latest irrigation information to irrigators, agri-business personnel and farmers at a Dec. 16 workshop.

The Winter Irrigation Workshop will run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery, 105 E. Middlebury St., Shipshewana. Speakers from Purdue Extension, Michigan State Extension, government agencies and industry will cover a wide range of irrigation topics.

"Irrigation of row crops provides some 'insurance' for producing a crop should there be a drought or other moisture stress-related weather problems during the growing season," said Gene Matzat, Purdue Extension agriculture and natural resources educator in La Porte County. "Ultimately, if managed well, irrigation can improve a farmer's bottom line through efficient crop production and resource management. Using irrigation to grow crops can help a farmer have a little more control over those factors that go into producing a successful crop."

Workshop topics and speakers are:

* "Water Use Direction in Indiana" by Mark Basch, Indiana Department of Natural Resources head of Water Rights and Use Section, Division of Water.

* "Proper Irrigation Grounding Safety" by Truman Surbrook, Michigan State professor of bio-systems ag engineering.

* "Irrigation Energy Audits and Potential Grants Available" by Aluel Go, Michigan State Extension bio-systems ag engineering specialist.

* "Regional Groundwater Modeling and High-Capacity Wells" by Todd Feenstra of Tritium.

* "Irrigation Scheduling Basics" by Lyndon Kelley, Purdue and Michigan State Extension irrigation educator.

* "Fertility Management for Irrigated Corn" by Jim Camberato, Purdue Extension soil fertility specialist.

* "Southwest Michigan Water Resources Council Update" by Fred Hennigsen.

Also included will be a brief Michiana Irrigation Association business meeting and election of board members.

Advance registration of $30 per person is required and includes Michiana Irrigation Association dues and lunch. A copy of the brochure and registration form can be downloaded at http://www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/laporte under "Field Crops."

Workshop organizers have applied for continuing education units for Certified Crop Advisers.

More information is available by calling 269-467-5511 or emailing mumbyde@anr.msu.edu



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