Irrigation Survey Results & Conference Reminder (2/22/20)

(upbeat country music) – Recently, the USDA came
out with a irrigation survey, and Saleh, what was
some of the information that was in that survey? – Sure, there are lots of information in the irrigation survey. The first thing we
looked at was the number of irrigated acres in Oklahoma. In 2018, which is the year
the survey was conducted at, we had just over 600,000
irrigated acres in Oklahoma. That’s 41% more than what we had in 2013. Part of that is because of
the drought we had back then from ’11 to ’14, ’15, so
a lot of irrigated farms just could not irrigate, but
if you compare with 2008, that it still shows about a 30% increase in irrigated acres, so
now we’re ranked 22nd among the 50 states in terms
of the irrigated acres, number of irrigated acres. – Where is most of that water coming from? – The main source of irrigation water in Oklahoma is groundwater. In 2018, 85% of our irrigation water was pumped from aquifers. When you compare that with 2013, we had 92% of water from groundwater, but again, part of that
is due to the drought. Surface water resources
were limited back in 2013, so 92% of groundwater supply. Back in 2008, we had 73%
of our supplies coming from groundwater, so we’ve
always relied heavily on groundwater resources in Oklahoma. – What are we seeing as far as the wells that are actually pulling
that water out of the ground? – So, in 2018, we had about
5,700 irrigation wells across the state, and that
also shows an increase about 16% compared to 2013. The report is very interesting. It provides information
on different aspects of irrigation wells, but
there were two aspects that we were interested in and we have paid special attention to. Number one was the number
of wells who did not have a backflow prevention device. About one third of our wells,
35%, did not have that device, and that’s very important,
especially for those who practice chemigation,
applying fertilizers and other chemicals, herbicides,
through irrigation water. We do want to make sure that
we have a backflow prevention so the chemicals we use do
not go back in the groundwater and end up contaminating those resources. The second aspect was that the pumping capacities have declined. We are now, for the first time, below 400 gallons per minute. To be exact, 368 gallons per minute was the average pumping capacity in 2018. In 2013, we were just above
400 gallons per minute, and back in 2008, we were
above 500 gallons per minute, so it’s showing some pretty steep decline, so it’s mainly because of declining levels and lack of the ability to recharge some of our key groundwater resources. – You have an event coming
up here pretty soon too. – Yes, every year for
the past several years, we have been organizing the
Oklahoma Irrigation Conference. This year, the conference is going to be on March 3rd in Altus. The organizing committee has put together, in my opinion, a very interesting program. We’re going to hear about
irrigation and salinity management. We’re going to hear about wireless sensor for irrigation scheduling. A NRCS representative will talk about the financial assistantship programs available to irrigators,
and many, many other talks, plus we have four CEUs for crop
advisors if they need that. It’s going to be CEUs in
soil and water management. – Okay, thank you very much. Dr. Saleh Taghvaeian, with
Oklahoma State University, and if you would like more information on that event coming up, go to our website, (upbeat country music)