Newswise — Winter is the perfect time to plan for spring irrigation.

Dr. Jason Krutz, irrigation specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, is available to discuss irrigation strategies so growers can be ready for the planting season.

MSU is helping row crop producers save money and reduce water use without compromising yield or quality by implementing research-based and data-based approaches to irrigation.

“It sounds absurd to say that you can apply half the water you normally apply and we can maintain or improve your yield almost guaranteed and improve your profitability by cutting down on your water cost,” Krutz said.

But it works.

Fifteen Mississippi producers took part in the Row-crop Irrigation Science and Extension Research, or RISER, program in 2013. Growers participating in RISER allow MSU researchers to handle irrigation decisions on one field for the entire growing season. At the end of the year, the grower can compare irrigation costs and harvest yields on the RISER fields with those on their other fields.

In each case, both fields showed similar yields, but the MSU-controlled field used from a quarter to half as much water as the neighboring plot irrigated using traditional decision-making processes.