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About the Program

The Master Irrigator Program from OSU Extension provides advanced training on irrigation water management, irrigation system and equipment maintenance, energy conservation, water conservation and quality, and economics of irrigated agriculture.
The program includes classroom training, peer-to-peer exchange of information between producers, field demonstrations, and free-of-charge services such as energy audits through mobile irrigation laboratories. Instructors include extension specialists, irrigation specialists, and economists from OSU and adjoining states, producers, crop consultants and NRCS personnel.
The third edition of the program is scheduled to be offered at the Oklahoma Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Jan.-Feb. of 2023, registration for this third edition of the program will open in October 2022 and will be limited to 25 participants.

Why this Program?

Use of irrigation scheduling technologies and tools, such as soil moisture sensors and/or crop growth model based irrigation schedulers, require advanced knowledge to apply effectively. The overall goal of the program is to facilitate improved water use efficiency and farm income via increased farmer adoption of advanced water management strategies and technologies.
Prior research in the High Plains region found that using precision irrigation scheduling increased water productivity by 25% compared to conventional irrigation application. This was achieved with a 10% reduction in water use and a 13% yield increase. This suggests that adoption of precision irrigation management could reduce water demand by 76,000 acre-feet/year statewide while potentially increasing productivity.  

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Benefits

Participants are required to complete four days of training to be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Four days of basic and advanced training on irrigation, crop choices and irrigation systems.
  • Participants will be eligible for reimbursements of $2000 on purchase of soil moisture sensors. through funding provided by Oklahoma Conservation Commission and Oklahoma Water Resource Board.
  • Free of charge energy and irrigation system efficiency audits will be provided to the participants through mobile irrigation laboratory.

Mobile Irrigation Laboratory

The Oklahoma State University’s Mobile Irrigation Laboratory is headed by Dr. Robert S. Frazier and Dr. Saleh Taghvaeian of the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering department. The laboratory provides free pumping energy use efficiency audits and irrigation application uniformity tests to graduates of Oklahoma Master Irrigator Program. Since the beginning of the program in 2021, the laboratory has performed audits on 16 systems belonging to 6 graduates from the Oklahoma Panhandle.

The laboratory has received funding from the Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma Water Resources Center, Oklahoma Water Resource Board, and Oklahoma Conservation Commission.

Collaborators:

  • Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
  • Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Oklahoma Conservation Commission
  • Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry
  • Oklahoma Farm Bureau
  • Oklahoma Panhandle Agriculture and Irrigation Association
  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board
  • Oklahoma Water Resources Center
  • USDA-NRCS

Testimonials

 

OSU Master Irrigator Program Leaders

Sumit Sharma

Plant & Soil Sciences

Jason Warren

Plant & Soil Sciences

Saleh Taghvaeian

Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering

Kevin Wagner

Oklahoma Water Resources Center 

 

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