About the Program
Oklahoma State University has initiated a Master Irrigator Program to provide 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. The instructors include extension specialists, irrigation specialists, and economists from OSU and adjoining states, producers, crop consultants and NRCS personnel. The first program was launched in Oklahoma Program in January 2021. The second program will be held at Altus in Southwest Oklahoma in January-February 2022. The registration for Master Irrigator Program in Altus is now open.
Goal of the Program
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.
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.
Why this Program?
Use of irrigation scheduling tools to manage irrigation water application can increase water productivity, but with less capital cost than installation of new irrigation systems. However, 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. 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 without impacting, and potentially increasing, productivity.
Who can take this Program?
Producers, farm technicians/managers and crop consultants from Southwest Oklahoma are welcome to enroll in the program.
- January 31: Local Hydrology (Surface and Groundwater), soil water relationship, Water quality, soil moisture sensors
- February 8: Plant-water relationship, Mesonet, Crop models, irrigation scheduling, Canopy temperature
- February 15: Subsurface drip irrigation, surface irrigation, Soil Health, EC
- February 22: Center Pivot irrigation, Pumps and VRI, Economics: Market Outlook
Southwest Research and Extension Center, 16721 US-283, Altus, OK-73521
- 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
OSU Program Leaders
- Sumit Sharma, Plant & Soil Sciences - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jason Warren, Plant & Soil Sciences - email@example.com
- Saleh Taghvaeian, Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kevin Wagner, Oklahoma Water Resources Center - email@example.com