Chemigation is the injection of agricultural chemicals into water flowing through an irrigation distribution system for application to land, crops, or both. This year several irrigators across the Upper Loup NRD will use chemigation to apply fertilizers and pesticides to their fields. In 2007, there were 206 chemigation permits issued across the Upper Loup NRD.
With chemigation, the rate of application can be regulated and chemicals may be applied at the exact time needed by plants to produce maximum results. The actual handling of chemicals is reduced so operator exposure is minimized and the chance for spills is diminished.
Chemigation offers the irrigator numerous other advantages. One of those advantages can be found in the application of nitrogen fertilizers. When chemigation is used, nitrate-leaching losses are reduced and the possibility for nitrate contamination of ground water is reduced.
However, chemigation has its risks. The greatest of these is the potential for accidental groundwater contamination through backflow into the irrigation well. Backflow is the siphoning of water and chemicals back into the irrigation well when normal operation is interrupted. To avoid this contamination, the appropriate chemigation equipment and system must be set-up, operated and maintained. Without the right equipment and setup, a permit will be denied.
Before an irrigator can begin chemigation, state law says a permit must be obtained from the local Natural Resources District on an annual basis. Permit fees are due by June 1st and permits expire on midnight May 31st the following year. Fees are $30 new permit, $10 renewal permit. Permit applications are available at the Upper Loup NRD District Headquarters in Thedford.
University of Nebraska-Extension schedules chemigation training courses across the NRD. If you plan to apply chemicals, you must attend one of the courses and pass a written exam to be certified. Certification is good for four years, and then the irrigator is required to take a renewal course. Chemigation inspections are required every 3 years.
Please pre-register so enough materials/tests can be packed for that location.
Area training dates for 2017 will be posted when information is released.