Irrigating on Scheduler for a
Bigger Yield Forecast
By Don Comis
April 24, 1997
Beating county yield averages by at
least 25 percent in corn, sorghum and wheat yields might just sound like a
farmers pipe dream. But three years of tests on a Texas farm showed a
computer program called SCS-Scheduler can help make that dream come
true, scientists with USDAs
Agricultural Research Service report.
The Scheduler computer program uses temperature and other data from field
weather stations to cue growers on the best time to irrigate, even before the
plants show any outward signs of damage. ARS scientists worked with USDAs
Natural Resources Conservation Service
(formerly the Soil Conservation Service) to develop the Scheduler.
In June 1992, the Scheduler alerted scientists that prolonged hot weather
had speeded up corn growth, requiring earlier-than-usual irrigation to save
yields. On the Texas test fields in 1993, Scheduler-irrigated corn yielded an
average 199 bushels an acre, compared to that years county average of 157
bushels--an increase of 27 percent. A Hutchinson County, Texas, farmer who
continued to use the Scheduler long after the test ended says his yield
increases in corn, wheat and grain sorghum have continued, too.
Farmers who are interested in obtaining the Scheduler should inquire at the
nearest Natural Resources Conservation Service office.
Scientific contact: Terry Howell,
USDA-ARS Water Management
Research, Bushland, Texas, phone (806) 356-5775, fax (806) 356-5750,