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Central Nebraska Testimonial and Experience with SDI (subsurface drip irrigation)

Gilbert Koch



In 2008, Gilbert Koch put in his first Netafim SDI (subsurface drip irrigation) system. He has slowly added more SDI in phases, with the last field being added in 2021. He lives near Eustis, NE which is in the south-central region of the state. His land was originally flood irrigated, and he converted to drip irrigation, using EQIP through a NRCS program, because he didn’t have enough water to irrigate all his acres through other methods. Water is restricted in his area of Nebraska, and he isn’t able to add wells or acres. With his drip irrigation, he is able to irrigate 282 acres with one well pumping 900-1100 gallons per minute. That is around 3 gallon per minute per acres, which will apply around an inch of water every seven to eight days (around 4 inches per month). Gilbert states, “that isn’t really enough during peak demand, so I gotta have some reserve in the soil”. If you are wondering how to build up a reserve water profile in your soil, check out the video about Root Zone Management with Travis Rokey.

Gilbert’s advice for someone who has flood irrigation or doesn’t have irrigation at all and is considering it: “Don't cut corners; pay up and do it right the first time.”

NutraDrip didn’t install Gilbert’s first field of SDI, but started servicing it in 2019, and have installed recent phases of his drip project. Many growers are concerned about the maintenance of drip irrigation. Gilbert agrees that there is maintenance that needs to be done in order for the system to function correctly. “It’s out of sight, but no, you can’t forget it. It takes maintenance: fall and spring startup. In the spring, flush and check for leaks, fix leaks…in the fall, shut it down and winterize it to pump out where the low spots are”.

“NutraDrip has had great service. They’ve serviced the existing drip that I had in (the field) before I met them, taking care of that. They’re technicians, are willing to work, and put in the hours necessary to maintain it.”.


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