​​Benefits of Irrigation in Humid Areas

March 2013 | 11 min., 48 sec.
by Edward M. Barnes
Cotton Incorporated

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Summary

When irrigation is precisely management in humid areas, it can provide many benefits to the producer and society as a whole. Irrigation allows producers to maximize yields by eliminating water stress, and just as importantly, minimize risk by having more consistent yields from year to year. While it will not be of benefit every year, long term data in the mid-south shows irrigation general results in an average yield increase above non-irrigated conditions of 200 pounds of fiber per acre. Irrigation can also improve the overall sustainability of a production system by maintaining high land productivity in drought years and making sure the early season investments of seed and fertilizer are not lost due to crop failure. Water is becoming a more limited resource, even in the mid-south and southeastern parts of the Cotton Belt; however, due to careful management and proper use of the latest technologies, it is being put to good use to feed and clothe the world.

About the Presenter

Edward M. Barnes Edward M. Barnes is Senior Director of Agricultural and Environmental Research at Cotton Incorporated where for the last sixteen years he has managed agricultural engineering related projects, including programs on: precision farming, ginning, irrigation management, conservation tillage, and cotton harvest systems. He has also served as a team member in documenting Cotton’s progress in reducing its environmental footprint while at the same time increasing productivity and currently serves on the Science Advisory Council of Field to Market, The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. Prior to coming to Cotton Incorporated, he spent seven years as an Agricultural Engineer for the USDA, Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory in Phoenix AZ developing uses of remotely sensed data for agricultural management, with a focus on water optimization. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineer’s (ASABE) and has served as chair of the society’s Engineering for Sustainability Committee, Precision Agriculture Committee and is a trustee of the ASABE Foundation. In 2013 he was awarded the National Conservations Systems Precision Agricultural Researcher of the year award, and in 2014 the ASABE Mayfield Cotton Engineer of the Year Award. Over his career he has received six ASABE Blue Ribbon awards for agricultural education activities, two USDA Certificates of Merit for research accomplishments, and authored or co-authored over 80 technical publications. He received his BS and MS in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from NC State University and PhD in Biosystems Engineering from Oklahoma State University.​

Contact Information:
Email: EBarnes@cottoninc.com

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