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"There are things that farmers can do to mitigate both the human and plant stress
July 25, 2022
By Mary HightowerU of A System Division of Agriculture
(Newsrooms: with file art Of irrigation, Chris Henry)
STUTTGART, Ark. — If there’s one message Chris Henry has for Arkansas row crop farmers
during the drought, it’s “don’t get in a hurry.”
Henry, professor and water management engineer for the University of Arkansas System
Division of Agriculture, has posted a handout with a variety of tactics aimed at helping farmers get the most crop they can with
what irrigation is available. Additional information can be found in a fact sheet series on Arkansas crop irrigation.
“The next 30 days will be critical for many irrigators, as fatigues sets in, and many
crops are still at or entering high water demand,” Henry said. “However, there are
things that farmers can do to mitigate both the human and plant stress being experienced.”
Arkansas has experienced a broken string of days with highs in the triple digits,
with rain in short supply. The U.S. Drought monitor map of July 19 showed all of Arkansas experiencing some form of drought. The Climate Prediction
Center’s extended outlook issued July 21 showed most of Arkansas with temperatures well above normal. However,
the CPC’s precipitation outlook was more promising, with the northern two-thirds of
the state possibly seeing above-average amounts.
Henry’s tactics include:
Even with one or two sets of sensors — for less than $500 — estimating the number
of irrigations left can be done for the entire enterprise. “In a drought year like
2022, sensors can save both water and profitability,” Henry said.
“For diesel power units, oil changes and greasing propeller shafts may seem obvious,
but changing the oil in the gear head is often overlooked,” Henry said. He also urged
farmers with electric motors to be sure to use both the correct lubrication and amount.
“If the oil in the sight window is black or white, there is a high risk of bearing
The fact sheet provides additional guidance, tables and example calculations, on how to estimate
crop demand and the amount and number of irrigations needed for reservoirs and wells
as supplies draw down.
“Heat stress and heat exhaustion awareness are real threats to safely sustaining irrigation,
keep ample water to employees and yourself and don’t get in a hurry, it may take more
time to do things safely,” Henry said.
To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture,
visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas,
contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media contact: Mary Hightower Mhightower@uda.edu