Farming is a tough business where farmers have to make hard decisions every day. It takes a lot of knowledge and dedication to ensure optimal yield. But, when you talk to farmers about technology assisting them, they rarely believe in its results.
Optimizing irrigation is crucial to creating a sustainable system that supports small and big farming businesses to grow steadily in a harsh industry where various weather can have a significant influence on the quality of the final product.
Most farmers feel a special connection with their business as they had to put a lot of work into it. Therefore, they need to experience how valuable precision agriculture is and how it benefits them.
Here, we will dive deeper into strategies for optimizing irrigation and how they can optimize fieldwork. Let’s start.
Optimized irrigation systems are equally effective for small and large land areas.
What is optimized irrigation?
Optimized irrigation is a system that brings water to crops and nutrients to plants in the right quantities. It uses advanced irrigation sensors to ensure the plants have all the nutrients to grow.
Today, it is slowly replacing traditional watering methods as its more efficient as it doesn’t waste any water.
Farmers often think that optimized irrigation is a synonym for drip irrigation systems. However, precision agriculture it’s much more than that. Innovative irrigation application and moisture control can greatly impact yield quality. As the world will need to double food production by 2027 to meet the growing population’s needs, farmers will have to use more technology to yield more crops in a more efficient way.
Plant health depends on the nutrients, salinity, microbes, and pests in the root zone. By controlling water that comes to the plant, it becomes possible to manipulate carbon levels in the root zone to ensure consistent yields.
With irrigation systems, farmers can track temperature, humidity, evapotranspiration, and real-time monitoring to see whether they executed the plan correctly. The more data farmers have, the easier it becomes to make long-term plans and stay one step ahead of the competition.
Strategies for optimized irrigation
The type of irrigation system depends on different factors. The first is the soil type, as in every region soil has a specific structure and watering needs. The second one is the amount of precipitation, and the third are the nearby sources of water supply and the size of the field.
Depending on the land’s watering needs, the right type of irrigation can save up to 30% on water consumption and significantly reduce production costs.
Three ways to optimize irrigation that most farmers can use are:
- Sprinkler irrigation
- Surface irrigation
- Drip irrigation
Sprinkler irrigation is one of the most effective ways to mimic rainfall. We can use it in many types of fields. Sprinkler or spray irrigation distributes water through a network of pumps, valves, and pipes that lead to sprinklers.
Water in the pipes must be under high pressure, so the sprinklers would create tiny drops that fall on the plants. A more advanced sprinkler system is low-pressure, and it gently sprays water onto plants.
Sprayers are automated, and they can disperse water in different directions. Farmers program them to work seasonally. Farms around the world still use this system, but up to 35% of water is lost because of evaporation and wind.
One of the oldest irrigation methods is surface irrigation. It is a system that relies on large amounts of water pulled by gravity. Today, this is one of the least efficient irrigation systems, as drip and sprinkle irrigation comes with more benefits.
Surface irrigation has three distinct phases: advance, storage, and recession.
The water moves through the network of channels towards the field during the advance phase. The second phase stores water around the plant for it to reach its root system. The recession is the last phase when water moves down, and the soil dries.
Flood irrigation is not the most efficient irrigation method, but it’s affordable and low-tech. Since less water is lost to evaporations compared to spray irrigation methods, this irrigation strategy is suitable for farmers without access to the latest agriculture technology. However, since water usage is not under the strict control of the farmer, this method is not as effective as drip irrigation.
One of the most economical strategies you can offer your clients is drip irrigation. It’s very efficient as it can reduce water usage, save valuable resources and bring water directly to the plant’s roots.
Benefits of drip irrigation for farmers:
- Saves valuable time and resources for farmers
- Effective use of water
- Allows rows between plants to remain dry
- Reduces weed growth
- Prevents disease
The drip line irrigation system’s advantage is a straightforward installation of pipes all around the land. The pressure in the pipes will ensure that enough water is going to each plant. In addition, we can upgrade the system with a programmer that allows us to control the system from our homes.
The drip system is automated, and its design ensures the system runs every day, making it a reliable tool that every farmer can rely on.
Explore the benefits of precision irrigation
Agriculture is packed with opportunities for tech companies. New tech solutions can help farmers create a more efficient food production process that doesn’t depend on the weather. Rather than going through a painful trial-and-error process, having an irrigation strategy can help farmers better care for their crops.
The world needs more agricultural lands to continue and increase food production. Taking better care of soil should be everyone’s top priority as we irrigate only 16% of all crops in the world. With optimal water circulation and minimized soil pollution, farmers will use data points to understand and adapt to changing conditions.