Variable rate irrigation reduces water, improves yields

By Peter Hull

Variable-rate irrigation systemA new variable-rate irrigation system uses less water and places it more strategically in a field. The Low Energy Precision Application system was shown to growers attending the fall field day at Edisto Research and Education Center.

Variable-rate irrigation allows growers to apply water as needed in individual management zones within a field. This approach can lead to substantial water conservation, as well as increased yields.

“The whole purpose is to get the water straight to the soil,” said Chris Bellamy, a graduate student who presented the technology with biosystems engineer Ahmad Khalilian.

Adjusting the system’s settings increases efficiency by decreasing the effects of wind and evaporation on applying water to the crop.

In addition to learning about the LEPA system, field day participants toured the center’s 2,300 acres that include research on peanuts, beef cattle, and row and vegetable crops.

For information: John Mueller, 803-284-3343,