‘Most Crop per Drop’ contest challenges Arkansas row-crop producers

side inlet irrigationDo you think you’re a good water manager who can maximize water-use efficiency? If so, enter the University of Arkansas’ 2018 Arkansas Rice and Row Crop Irrigation Yield Contest for rice, soy and corn producers.

If you earn the top award in the challenge — nicknamed “Most Crop per Drop” contest — you could win a valuable prize, according to a university news release. Only the top entry in each commodity — one winner each for rice, corn and soybeans — will receive the award.

A $10,000 cash prize will go to contest winners in corn and soybeans. The rice winner will be awarded a RiceTec hybrid seed tote with a retail value of $12,000.

Awards will be presented at the Arkansas Soil and Water Conference in January 2019. The contest prizes have been provided by RiceTec, the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Promotion Board, and the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board.

“Arkansas growers are familiar with yield competitions like soybean’s ‘Grow for the Green,’ but there’s never been a competition that focuses on maximizing yield by maximizing water-use efficiency,” Chris Henry, associate professor and water management engineer for the University of Arkansas, said in the release. “We thought it was time to have a ‘Most Crop per Drop’ contest that would highlight Arkansas farmers’ efforts to improve sustainability and profitability, which are paramount to the future of agriculture.”

There’s a $100 contest entry fee, and entries are due by June 1. Contestants will need a portable flow meter to enter but can request to borrow one from their county Extension office. Sixty meters are available on a first-come first-serve basis.

The contest is open to growers of rice, corn or soybeans. Rice growers who use multiple inlet rice irrigation (MIRI) or alternate wetting and drying (AWD) methods are eligible, as are cascade flood, furrow irrigation or sprinkler irrigation, in contour levee, or straight levee irrigation. However, zero grade fields are ineligible.

Based on observations from Cooperative Extension Service irrigation management demonstration fields over the past five years, “Experience has shown that when applied effectively, water use can be reduced by 24 percent on average with no yield reduction,” Henry said. “Reductions in water use of around 40 percent have been documented.”

To learn more about the contest, contact your county Extension office or email contest@uark.edu.


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