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United States : LRNRD funds available to help farmers install soil moisture sensors.

Lower Republican Basin farmers interested in learning more about soil moisture sensors and funds now available to install them should attend one of three Aug. 2 seminars in Arapahoe, Alma and Red Cloud.

The program will feature presentations by researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln s Biological Systems Engineering Department and Extension Service who have done sensor studies with farmers throughout the state.

LRNRD is promoting the use of sensors and can provide cost-share funds to install them.

The district received a $625,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture s Natural Resources Conservation and added a local match of $155,000. The program will pay $500-$600 per irrigated field.

First-year applications for sensor cost shares are due to local NRCS offices by Aug. 11.

Soil moisture sensors have been shown in some of these studies to save 2 or more inches of water per acre when used properly to drive the timing of irrigation, with crop yields equal to or in some cases higher than other identically planted fields, LRNRD General Manager Mike Clements said in a press release.

If we could save even 1 inch annually on our 327,000 groundwater-irrigated acres, that would be over 27,000 acre-feet saved each year, he added.

The sensors are one of several irrigation conservation measures promoted by LRNRD in the face of possible widespread irrigation shutdowns for Republican River Compact compliance.

The district also recently received an additional federal grant of $5 million over five years to provide incentives to landowners willing to temporarily or permanently retire thousands of irrigated acres.

The positive impact of these two projects could be huge for us in terms of doing our fair share to meet compact compliance obligations, Clements said.

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Date:Jul 26, 2010
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