Free help available for small acreage irrigators |

Free help available for small acreage irrigators

Staff Photo |

If you’re new to managing a pasture or other irrigated land, you may greatly benefit from the Small Acreage Irrigation Ambassador program. This free service will help you understand the most effective way to apply your irrigation water. A visit from our irrigation expert will educate you about precisely how much water is necessary to keep your crops healthy. Consequently, you’ll better understand how to irrigate efficiently in our dry climate and how best to operate and maintain a ditch water furrow or sprinkler irrigation system.

Small acreage is defined as more than 1 acre and less than about 100 acres. The target audience for this program are folks who are hobby farmers or the recreational landowner (have 30 acres and a horse, etc.).

During your site visit, you will be given tips and tools to help you be the most efficient irrigator possible. After the audit, you will likely use less water than you thought necessary, which can result in fewer weeds, less soil erosion, healthier water quality in rivers due to less runoff and leaching, and fewer mosquito outbreaks due to reduced ponding on your property.

Each free visit includes the collection and analysis of your major soil type, irrigation scheduling recommendation, and opportunities to reduce costs and labor needs and improve pasture or crop health on your property. Each property and associated crop has very specific irrigation needs, and understanding how to most accurately apply the limited water available can improve your overall yields. In our area, irrigation is the input that has the greatest impact on the health and production of your crop. Your ability to support your family or livestock on your parcel is directly tied to your ability to irrigate. This program will help you make the most of your situation.

This service is a cooperative partnership provided by Colorado State University Extension, Mesa County Conservation District, Grand Valley Irrigators, and the Grand River Mosquito Control District. It was developed specifically to help new small acreage owners.

Our quality of life here in the Grand Valley is directly tied to our water resources. Whether you are recreating in the river with your family or enjoying a ride on a healthy horse fed on local pasture grasses, you are benefiting from landowners who are utilizing our water efficiently to support our community needs. Many people don’t realize that excessive irrigation leads to the leaching of minerals into the river. Improvements in water management can reduce salt loading to the river and help preserve the health and enjoyment of the river for the future. The lessons learned from our irrigation program not only benefit you as the landowner, but it benefits our whole community.

This program will be available through August 2013, and available slots are limited, so call today to set up a free site visit appointment, or for more information contact Darrell Rule at or at 970-270-2161. Additionally, have a look at our website for more info: or get additional tips on irrigation at

This is part of a series of articles coordinated by the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University in cooperation with the Colorado and Gunnison Basin Roundtables to raise awareness about water needs, uses and policies in our region. To learn more about the basin roundtables and statewide water planning, and to let the roundtables know what you think, go to

John Rizza is western regional specialist with CSU Extensions Small Acreage Management.

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