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February 14, 2024

Watch: Keg River Webinar Unveils New Insights on Irrigation

Elemental sulfur is a powerful catalyst to optimize results

What’s the best recipe for outstanding crop results under irrigation? Water quality, irrigation system, soil health, and more are all critical factors. But it turns out, elemental sulfur has a powerful role to play in fully turning on the taps to profitability.

A wealth of information and insights on this topic were featured in Keg River’s recent webinar on Elevating Soil Health Through Irrigation Best Practices.

This webinar was sponsored by Keg River and AGvisorPRO, with CEO Robert Saik stepping in as our moderator. The webinar featured Terry Tindall, a Senior Agronomist at J.R. Simplot Company,  Dr. Charlie Sanchez, a Research Specialist and Professor at the University of Arizona, and Brooke Bateman, a sales and product leader with Keg River.

These experts discussed everything from the evolution of irrigation approaches and water quality challenges across different regions to soil pH and structure, nutrient availability, and how to truly elevate results through optimal utilization of elemental sulfur.

Top tips from the experts

Rob Saik noted that irrigation has been a game changer for agriculture – allowing farmers to grow productive crops in places where it would not be otherwise possible. But are these crops hitting their full yield potential? Here are a few examples of the practical advice and insights the experts had to help ensure healthy, high-yielding crops:

Optimize irrigation to maintain soil balance: Dr. Charlie Sanchez provided an overview of irrigation approaches and challenges, covering the main systems and water sources employed in North America, as well as the need to find the right balance for crop needs and soil health –  all with an eye to longer-term sustainability.

“Each crop has its own characteristic demand. Where you farm and water quality makes a difference to the management steps that may be needed, including water treatments and soil amendments. There are other beneficial uses to irrigation. It could be for managing salt, for frost control, or tillage for example. It can be an important tool to maintain soil balance.”

Synch systems, water amount and timing with crop needs: Terry Tindall discussed challenges growers and agronomists should keep front of mind when implementing irrigation over the long term. He noted that fortunately for the Pacific Northwest, water sources are based on reservoirs and snowpack that are reliably high quality. However, it’s important to keep up with best practices for evolving irrigation delivery systems.

“Management is the big factor. For example, most potato production now is under center pivot irrigation. You’ve got a great opportunity with this system to deliver exactly the water you need.” He says that growers need to work on optimizing the water amounts applied, making sure soils are well irrigated consistently across fields. “It’s important to use the right amount and timing to meet the water use efficiency requirements of the specific crop you’re growing.”

Elemental sulfur strategy can be a true game changer.  Rob Saik summed up the pivotal role elemental sulfur can play, noting today it is applied for the production of almost every high-value crop to both protect and maximize the grower’s investment. But not all sources of elemental sulfur are equal to get the job done right, he noted. In addition to source quality, it’s important to have a low dust granular form –  such as Keg River’s bentonite sulfur offerings –  to have the best delivery for soil and crop needs.

He asked Brooke Bateman to explain further. “The low dust aspect is key to get the sulfur through all the transportation and other handling it needs to endure before getting to the field,” says Bateman. “Bentonite Sulphur is an excellent vehicle. When the bentonite fertilizer is applied, it gets activated by the irrigation water, the bacterial oxidation process gets underway and the delivery is very efficient, cost-effective and targeted.” There is a wide window of application timing and fall application is becoming very popular, he noted.

Irrigation water is the single greatest limiting factor for successful crop growth in the West. Getting it right is essential for crop production today and into the future.

Dr. Terry Tindall

Make sure to watch the full webinar to get all the information and insights. Thanks to our panelists, host, partners and participants –  we can’t wait for the next one!

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