The WaterPACK/ILS Farm is owned and operated by the Innovative Livestock Solutions Partnership. The cooperator, ILS, was approached by the Water Protection Association of Central Kansas (WaterPACK) who initiated and provided funding for this project. Two adjacent center pivots (Fields 15 and 16) are involved located about 6 miles northeast of Belpre, KS or about 18 miles south of Larned, KS in Pawnee County.
It started in the fall of 2015 when WaterPACK, under the leadership then of Richard Wenstrom, contacted Danny Rogers, Extension Irrigation Engineer of K-State Biological and Agricultural Engineering, to help them evaluate if mobile drip irrigation (MDI) could improve application efficiency in their area. Soon, in conjunction with the Kansas Water Office, the project transformed to become part of the first water technology farms.
The focus of the project is to evaluate the performance of MDI on a higher volume well in an area outside of the Ogallala Aquifer, but with sandy soils. Three outer spans on Field 16 (North) were converted to half with spray nozzles and half with Dragon-Line™ in 30-inch spacing. Field 15 (South) was the control, having similar well capacity but all spray nozzles. The North field was planted in circular rows of corn as contrasted to the South field which is planted in the typical straight rows of corn.
The rationale for the circular versus straight planting, other than recommended to optimize benefit of MDI, is to detect difference in efficiency through planting configurations. Another focus on this farm is better irrigation scheduling using KanSched, an ET-based scheduling tool developed by K-State. To validate the schedule, neutron soil water readings and gravimetric methods of soil water measurements are done on a bi-weekly basis. AquaSpy soil moisture sensors were installed in both fields.
A major supporter of funding for most of this project is the Water Protection Association of Central Kansas (WaterPack).
Donors: Kansas Water Office; K-State Research and Extension; Kansas Corn Commission; WaterPACK; Teeter Irrigation; Pioneer Hi-Bred International; AquaSpy; Western Irrigation Supply House and Ag Systems, Inc.