PROSSER, Wash. – Washington State University experts have just launched a new web site for agricultural industry professionals called the Irrigated Agriculture Information Service. The site is at http://extension.wsu.edu/irrigatedag and is designed to provide users with a customizable source of timely irrigation information. The service is completely free and was developed by a team of WSU Extension irrigation and agronomy experts.
The new system is based on a user-defined set of interests. Users are then emailed alerts and other information based on their customizable preferences. The system is currently equipped with over 35 topic areas, from apples and cattle production to drip irrigation and wine grape growing. Once users create an account and set up topic preferences, they can log back in at any time and change their information preferences.
“We want to provide members of the irrigated agriculture industry with only the information they want, when and where they need it,” said Andy McGuire, a WSU Extension educator based in Grant County. “We want to get research results and other information out as quickly as possible to those that use it on a daily basis. This system replaces an older print-based information-delivery system. That not only saves money, it expedites the delivery of specific information to specific audiences. Email gives users the ability to receive timely water-management information at home, in the office, or on a smart phone.”
Alerts will be topic specific, McGuire said. For instance, WSU’s pest-monitoring team will quickly notify potato growers if crop-damaging insects have been spotted in potato fields. “Timely information helps manage growers manage pests and be judicious about pesticide use, thus improving overall water quality.”
Water management is a key issue faced by all agricultural producers, McGuire said. Properly managing a precious resource potentially affects producers’ economic bottom line. Likewise, good irrigation practices help reduce dust in cities and reduce the loss of valuable soil.