Goodland, KS. (08/17/2018) – Back in July of 2017, Northwest Kansas Technical College submitted a grant request for a Water Technology Mobile Classroom to benefit the newly established Precision Agriculture program. The goal of this project was to centralize all of the equipment, personnel support, and field training efforts needed to conduct on-site research and install irrigation water technology.
The project was accepted and funded by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. Over the past year, the Mobile Classroom analyzed eighteen fields comprised of 2,046 acres of irrigated cropland. Of the 2,046 participating acres, 1,326 acres were planted with corn, 480 acres with beans, 120 acres with confectionary sunflowers, and 120 acres with alfalfa.
All participating fields were equipped with technologies that were used on and/or with pivot irrigation platforms exclusively. No equipment or efforts were geared toward subsurface irrigation, mobile drip, or flood irrigation applications. A wide variety of technologies, conventions and services were applied across the water technology farms, including; soil moisture probes, variable rate irrigation controllers, variable rate prescription speed tables, electromagnetic soil mapping, traditional soil sampling, and weather stations.
The funds from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation allowed the necessary equipment and tools to be readily available for use in the field, and for operators to safely and efficiently conduct research for area growers in a shorter amount of time. It also allowed the Water Technology Farms project to span across a larger area. The Water Technology Mobile Classroom centralized all of the tools, technology, safety equipment, and classroom essentials in one convenient location. It will enable students and growers to learn, engage, and collaborate on-site for many years to come.