An education program for Rio Grande Valley vegetable growers on the practical aspects of water conservation technologies will be presented from 8 a.m.–noon March 6 in Mission.
The Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Water Development Board will co-host the free program at the Texas International Produce Association, 901 Business Park Drive, Suite 500.
Day-of registration and coffee will be at 7:30 a.m., but attendees are required to preregister at http://twri.tamu.edu/irrigation.
Dr. Lucas Gregory, Texas Water Resources Institute research scientist, College Station, said the program will begin with a panel discussion with growers on drip irrigation application in vegetables.
The discussion will highlight the perspectives of growers who have implemented drip irrigation in their operations,” he said. “Growers will describe their specific experiences with drip irrigation and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of its application in their operations.”
Gregory said these producers will be able to provide relevant insight to other producers and can answer questions about how their operations have been improved by implementing drip irrigation.
Gregory said the program also will focus on the application of newer technology in vegetable irrigation and production.
“Industry representatives will discuss data integration tools that can provide information to farm managers to improve irrigation efficiencies and crop performance while reducing irrigation needs,” he said.
Research conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension personnel in Weslaco will also be highlighted.
Dr. Juan Landivar, director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Corpus Christi and Weslaco, will discuss the use of unmanned aerial systems, or UAS, in production agriculture. Dr. Juan Enciso, AgriLife Research irrigation engineer, Weslaco, will give an overview of ongoing efforts to improve irrigation efficiencies and promote conservation.
Brad Cowan, AgriLife Extension agent for Hidalgo County, said an update on pertinent vegetable production issues will round out the program.
“Pest management issues and financial assistance opportunities for producers will be covered,” he said. “Diseases and entomology-related issues and mitigation strategy presentations will allow us to offer one hour of Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units.”
Cowan said information about funding opportunities so producers may defray some of their implementation costs will conclude the day.
Funding for this event is provided by the Texas Water Development Board through an Agricultural Water Conservation Grant to AgriLife Extension.