Texas Panhandle Farmers Participate in Water Conservation Project

Jul 1, 2013

A device that transmits information on soil moisture in a cornfield belonging to David Ford (standing) a farmer near the Texas Panhandle town of Dumas. He is participating in a water-saving demonstration project.
Credit Jerod Foster

Motivated by water district regulations and a falling water table, a handful of farmers in the Texas Panhandle are participating in a water conservation project.  Farmers like Harold Grall, are implementing technology and changing farming practices to reduce water use and remain profitable reported The Texas Tribune.  

The usual planting routine is to irrigate prior to planting.  Project participants are experimenting with dry planting.  They are also leaving old corn stalks in the field and increasing the distance between plants.   The new technology of soil sensors are being implemented.  Sensors allow farmers to obtain more precise information about moisture and sprinkler performance — and read it remotely with their smartphone.

The demonstration project began in 2010 with a goal to discover cost effective farming methods that can be applied immediately.   It focuses on corn, the most common crop in the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District.