Climate conditions, declining resource availability, and growing population dictate the need for more crops. And one way to grow healthy crops and increase yields is by proper irrigation. The goal is to increase farm irrigation efficiency quickly to enjoy the best results.
Increased farm irrigation efficiency is beneficial not only for crops but also for farmers. As crops get all the proper care, farmers can finally rely on more modern solutions and improve their life quality.
This article shares several ways in which farmers can increase farm irrigation efficiency.
Modern technology allows farmers to increase farm irrigation efficiency.
Implement the State-of-the-Art Irrigation System and Sensors
Traditional irrigation systems have been in use for centuries. Farmers would rely on their own experience, the history of irrigation needs for the specific area they live in, and their hard work.
State-of-the-art irrigation systems are changing all of this. There is no more need for farmers to be present on the farm all the time. Instead, they can focus on upselling their business. The only drawback is that farmers are still reluctant to adopt new technologies.
New irrigation systems are modern in that each plant receives as much water and nutrients as it needs. Reduced water use is beneficial to farmers in terms of finances and resources.
Farm irrigation efficiency increases each day as crops receive the best care they need at a minimum expense.
Even if farmers are not ready to implement an entirely new irrigation system, it is possible to increase farm irrigation efficiency. Installation of sensors that measure soil moisture, flow rate, external temperatures, wind speed, and rain is likely on old irrigation systems.
The main benefit of modern irrigation systems and sensors is the ability to gather plenty of information that answers if irrigation is necessary.
Real-time data helps farmers make the right choice and increase farms’ irrigation efficiency.
Use Smart Apps to Monitor Irrigation
Smartphones have gained another purpose. A few years ago, it seemed impossible that farmers could manage their crops` irrigation while scrolling down their social media networks.
It is possible that farmers are happy to provide the best possible care to their plants without physically being on the farm.
How does this work? Different sensors measure soil moisture, flow rate, wind, frost, and rain. Then, they send real-time data to the application on a farmer’s phone. A farmer can then decide whether it is necessary to irrigate the crops.
It is possible to increase the farm irrigation efficiency by using smart apps to monitor irrigation. This modern approach to irrigation will save farmers time, workforce, and water. At the same time, there will be no over-watering or under-watering of the plants, as with traditional irrigation.
There’s no need to obsess with weather forecasts anymore. Weather stations, different sensors, and an app on the phone are all that it takes to navigate irrigation from the comfort of one’s home successfully.
Rotate Crops for More Optimal Irrigation
Over the years of planting the same crops on the land, farmers might experience issues regarding irrigation. Soil can stop preserving water after several seasons, directly affecting farm irrigation efficiency.
The solution is to rotate crops to get the best irrigation results. Experiments prove that crop rotation has beneficial effects on yields and ecosystem sustainability.
Farmers need to rotate crops over the years so that the soil can preserve the vital chemicals necessary for producing high-quality yields. Crop rotation is essential for better irrigation efficiency as the soil will not get saturated.
Insulate irrigation pipes for higher irrigation system longevity
The only successful drip irrigation system is the one whose all parts work perfectly. It is easy to forget about protecting the irrigation pipes when the winter comes.
Protecting the irrigation pipes is a simple and necessary part of the irrigation efficiency process. As water expands when it freezes, subzero temperatures become farmers’ worst enemy. The lines might burst, creating a space for leakage and water loss.
Farmers should use frost blankets to cover all the pipes that are above ground. There are two options here. Farmers can use real frost blankets from thick fabric, or they can use insulated tape to cover the pipe. However, both ways will provide the necessary protection.
Furthermore, they can use a freeze sensor to stop the irrigation system from working when temperatures fall below 32F.
Finally, insulation is also essential for the main shut-off valve. It is enough to cover it with foam insulation tape and a plastic bag.The damage will set the irrigation back if pipes and the main shut-off valve burst and suffer damage during subzero temperatures.
Equipment maintenance is the key
Even if farmers implement the newest and most efficient drip irrigation system, they still need to pay attention to maintenance. Luckily, most parts of the irrigation system require only annual maintenance.
The irrigation systems are durable, and most importantly, they save a lot of money throughout the year, so it is worth it to have a professional checkup on all the hardware. While experts recommend regular, annual maintenance, farmers should check whether the system functions correctly daily. A visual checkup of devices, pipes, emitters, and filters is necessary.
Read more about different types of irrigation systems and sensors and available upgrades to increase efficiency on our blog.