Nebraska farmer using flood irrigation to spark winter wheat growth

A Southwest Nebraska farmer says he’s thinking outside the box to help get his winter wheat crop to emerge.  

Don Batie tells Brownfield historic drought has dried up soils. “The one field that we’re trying to water up is actually gravity irrigation. I’ve never tried this before so it’s an experiment.”

He says he planted the crop at a slight angle after soybeans had been harvested. “I’m trying to water down the old ridges.  It’s not working well, if I’m going to be honest. There is a lot of soybean residue in the bottoms.  There is some loose dirt from the drilling and it’s awfully dry to start with.”  

Batie says most of his crops are gravity irrigated but the idea may not work. “If it doesn’t pan out by spring, we’ll just terminate it and plant corn instead.”  

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