New website helps farmers battle drought - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

New website helps farmers battle drought

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It's a simple website, that's making a big difference for area farmers. The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation has developed two new tools to help farmers save water and maximize profits. Texas Tech researchers have helped develop two new tools. One is an irrigation scheduling system, which tracks how much water the crops get and how much they really need. The other, is a planning tool farmers can use before planting season to decide what crops will make the most profit. The two really are changing the way some farmers farm, in the midst of this historic drought.

"There's no need to plant it if you can't harvest it" Glenn Schur, TAWC user, says. The Plainview farmer's fields are green and thriving thanks to the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation website. "It can not only save you water but they can have the potential to increase to stabilize farming revenue" Justin Weinheimer says, his response to the farmer's drought struggles was to help create the TAWC Solutions website. "The goal of the project is to try to figure out ways to make more money on less water" Weinheimer says.

"This year has kind of been a horror story as far as lack of rainfall" Schur says. The website is connected to a probe installed 60 feet into the ground to measure the amount of water the crops need and have used. Schur then just has to log onto the website to manage what each field needs. "It shows us the daily use of the water from the standpoint of the soil in the crop development" Schur says.

Friday, Schur's crops used up 17 hundredths of an inch of water. "That number is going to increase just because of the crop development, the cotton is blooming, and it's going to need more water" Schur explains. The website is connected to area weather data so farmer's get up to date information just by the click of a button.

"Really we're putting water down about 18-20 inches every time we irrigate" Schur says. The website ensures the crops get enough water without wasting any during this drought. "After this year it might be very important for us to have some kind of planning tool" Schur says. In 24 hours, his crops will receive between eight-hundred- thousand to one-million gallons of water, and during a drought using any more would be a waste.

If you are interested, check out their website at: www.DEPTS.TTU.EDU/ TAWC or tawcsolutions.org.

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