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Thinking about a New Irrigation System? (06/16/16)

Although there are numerous aquifers throughout North Dakota, only a few have water quality that would support long-term irrigation.

Thinking about a New Irrigation System?

Although there are numerous aquifers throughout North Dakota, only a few have water quality that would support long-term irrigation. Step 1 in thinking about installing an irrigation pivot is always testing aquifer water quality. If the water sample comes in with high salts and/or high sodium (SAR), then the field is not suitable for irrigation. If the water sample tests low in both salts and sodium, then irrigation will be more successful. Step 2 (or maybe Step 1b) would be to consult the ‘Compatibility of North Dakota Soils to Irrigation’ circular. I am listed as lead author, and although I conducted much of the work on the original, Tom Scherer is really the force behind the revision. If both sources of information are positive towards successful irrigation, then it is time to visit with irrigation pivot providers.

Dave Franzen

NDSU Extension Soil Specialist

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