Agricultural water management or water management systems in agriculture are crucial for several reasons. While it helps ensure the reduction of adverse environmental effects, it also accelerates crop productivity. Owing to the given fact, farmers have been making use of irrigation – a water management system in agriculture – for centuries. However, improper irrigation management by ranchers and farmers can cause water pollution, soil erosion, and other associated problems.
It is worth noting that 70% of freshwater that exists in our world is steered toward agriculture. Whereas 10% is used by livestock, industry, and aquaculture, irrigation surprisingly consumes 60%. Therefore, it’s high time to pay proper attention to irrigation for a sustainable and supportable water management system in agriculture. Here we see a few imperatives below.
- First of all, proper irrigation guarantees the production and development of a good yield by providing the required amount of water for plants to grow.
- It averts the drying out of the soil by maintaining soil moisture.
- Moreover, it tapers off the amount of soil erosion.
- It cuts down the excessive water usage.
- Last, but not least, it enhances the production quality.
When improving the water management system in agriculture, there are several ways. You can apply the proper irrigation method, develop a water management plan, and monitor water usage.
Improving sustainable agricultural water management system
Farming and environmental quality benefit from sustainable agricultural water management. So, it comes down to choosing suitable irrigation systems according to the specific situations. In agriculture, there exist plenty of irrigation systems. For row crops, the appropriate irrigation system is the furrow irrigation system. Equally, hilly terrains cultivate better yields with the trickle irrigation system. On the other hand, crops utilize the appropriate amount of water with the help of the calibrated irrigation system, as over-watering/under-watering is harmful to crops.*
Here we go through some other types of water management systems in agriculture.
Centre Pivot Irrigation: The sprinklers spread the water above wheeled poles in spirals.
Sub-Irrigation: Pumping stations, ditches, gates, canals, and other waterways raise the water level in a bid to distribute water across the land.
Lateral Move Irrigation: A series of pipes supply water, and each line is equipped with a set of sprinkles and a wheel. This system can be regulated manually or automatically.
Use evaluation of rainfall patterns
In some parts of the world, water for agriculture is limitedly available, which led researchers to develop a novel method called rainfall patterns for agriculture. Not only is understanding rainfall patterns crucial in determining crop yields, but so is figuring out the rainfall quality and quantity. In this way, farmers can get the most desirable raindrops by scheduling their crops at the best of times, paving the way for increased production and improved yield quality.
Use drip irrigation
Given the scarcity of water in our world, there is no better alternative than a drib irrigation system. It diminishes evaporation by delivering water straight to the roots of plants. By estimates, it can save up to 80 percent more water when compared to traditional irrigation systems in case of its proper installation and scheduled watering. While it reduces water loss, it ramps up crop yields.
Make irrigation scheduling
Delivering the right amount of water at the appropriate time for crops comes down to the meticulous monitoring of soil and plant moisture, weather forecast, and other related conditions. It is the realization of the fact that one cannot manage water smartly without knowing when and how much water is required to get distributed to crops from time to time.
Try dry farming
Farmers can resort to dry farming since it helps produce crops without irrigation during a dry season. Essentially, it relies on moisture stored in the soil from the rainy season.
Pay attention to compost and mulch
Farmers can use compost and mulch to their advantage. While compost optimizes soil structure and ratchets up the water-retaining capacity, mulch spreads over the soil and makes way for moisture conservation of the soil. Remember that compost alludes to decomposed organic matter utilized as fertilizer, whereas mulch can be made of organic materials such as wood or straw.
Use cover crops
Averting erosion and compaction, suppressing weeds, and improving soil fertility and organic matter come great with cover crops. Surprisingly, it does not only enhance water-retaining capacity, but it also pushes water to get absorbed deep into the soil.
Implement conservation tillage
Conservation tillage reduces erosion and paves the way for soil conservation. However, it demands specialized plows and other tools to moderately till the soil. On the other hand, it leaves a minimum of 30% of vegetative crop residue on the surface.
Do you know organic methods keep the toxic pesticides at bay from our waterways and help maintain soil moisture? In a similar vein, the Rodale Institute witnessed 30% more corn yields in organic fields than traditional fields in times of drought in its thirty-year farm systems trial. It also noted that up to 20% of groundwater is rechargeable through organic fields.
Use a smart irrigation system
With everything on automation nowadays, automating the workflow and getting a real-time outlook on irrigation is also crucial for farmers. Along similar lines, with the help of remote controllers and connected sensors, you can now water your crops with a smart irrigation system.
It can help farmers keep updated with the weather forecast or moisture levels for appropriate irrigation schedules and predict possible threats by using statistics from earlier irrigation sessions. Similarly, farmers also can develop a better future farming plan by considering plausible changes.
In the wake of global water scarcity, the entire agriculture sector might be at significant risk. Without resorting to implementing new methods in place of conventional ones and leveraging new technology, we can hit agriculture and hence food insecurity at a faster rate than imagined. Therefore, it is indispensable to get partnered with a professional such as GeoPard, who utilizes modern techniques of crop monitoring, soil data analytics, field benchmarking, etc., and realizes the specifications of implementing smart agricultural water management.