Southwest winner Eric Seidenberger has also been working to handle water more efficiently on his 2,950 acres; 2,150 of them in cotton and the rest in wheat and grazing land. He is working toward installing drip irrigation on much of his acreage.

Drip irrigation, reduced tillage, terracing and grassed waterways all are critical parts of his production and conservation programs, which are aimed at achieving the highest yields at the lowest costs while protecting the land and water.

Seidenberger installed his first drip irrigation in 2003, a 45-acre block. He says drip offers at least three advantages: Consistently, high yields; improved water efficiency; and cost savings through reduced tillage.

But the main advantage, he told Southwest Farm Press Editor Ron Smith, is labor savings. “We were moving pipe all day long for furrow irrigation. We’re also using less tillage on drip irrigated fields. We’re not cultivating four or five times in the summer as we do with furrow irrigation. We cultivate one time. We spray Roundup early and cultivate once.”