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Recycling water for farm use

Jason Webster speaks at the PTI Farm in Pontiac last year / CIFN photo.

PONTIAC – What do you do when there is no tile outlet? Develop your own water management system.

That’s what Jason Webster and the folks at Precision Planting did at the company’s research farm in Pontiac, which is surrounded by Interstate 55 on the west and the city to the east.

“We created a reservoir on the farm with the full intention of recycling water,” Webster explained. “Right now, it is about 2.5 acres in size and is cut 20 foot deep.”

They are draining water from tile and depositing it into the reservoir which simply holds the water. If the summer turns out to be hot and dry, that water will be pumped out and recycled. The farm will end up with sub-irrigation tile but most of it will be drip irrigation this year.

This interesting concept is still in the construction phase, according to Webster, allowing visitors to see what the company went through to build it. A return on investment will be determined at the end of the year when the numbers are calculated.

Precision Planting’s Precision Technology Institute (PTI) Farm tests several agronomy trials each year. In fact, they will end up with 60-70 on-farm trials this season. Different planting technologies are also explored.

“What happens if we make mistakes with the planter – what does it cost us yield wise and what are the repercussions on an economical basis?” asked Webster.

Growers are shown actual problems out in the field, what it can cost them and ways to prevent those problems. Webster acknowledges this spring was a challenge for many farmers. Most of the research farm’s general planting didn’t happen until June 5.

“We had about 10 days to get everything done on the farm. I wouldn’t have thought it would have been possible.”

Seed bed preparation posed a challenge as the Pontiac farm received close to 15 inches of rain during April, May and June. With one trial, Precision Planting eliminated the use of row cleaners by raising them all the way up through the field. This allows visitors to see how planting depth shallowed up immediately. Webster will be interested to see what type of yield hit will be involved with late emerging plants.

Field show season at the PTI Farm starts after the Fourth of July and goes through September.

“We are running five days a week out there at the research farm brining groups in from around the world to show some of the agronomics and technology at the farm,” Webster noted.

To see a complete listing of summer field events, visit or contact your local Precision Planting Premier dealer to register. Farmers will not only be able to learn a thing or two about agronomics, but also have the chance to use the technology themselves.

“With the technology we have, we can prevent some of the mistakes we made this spring,” Webster concluded.

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