Reduce Water Events for High-Value Crops
High-value crops can be incredibly profitable, but they can also require a lot of time, money, and effort.One of the best ways to reduce your overhead costs is to reduce the water events associated with those crops crops through various methods of soil moisture retention and conservation.. Here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of not only your irrigation, but also Mother Nature, so you can save money and improve the quality and yield of your crops.
Use Weather Apps and Almanacs
Many farmers out there continuously use their irrigation equipment regardless of weather, and this is particularly true in drier climates where rain is sometimes quite the commodity. One of the absolute best ways to reduce water events, especially for high-value crops, involves making use of weather apps and almanacs. Shutting down irrigation systems during a soaking rain can save a tremendous amount of water. In fact, it is estimated that it takes some 679,000 gallons of water to raise one acre of tomatoes in a single growing season. Multiplied by many acres, it becomes clear that water is a priority. When you can use the weather to your advantage, even for a single day, you can save money.
Understand (and Work With) the Crop’s Moisture Extraction Pattern
Every crop has a unique moisture extraction pattern that describes how much water the roots will absorb from the soil at certain depths. For example, sugar cane, which is one of the highest-value crops in the world, extracts water from depths that range from the very top of the soil to 100cm below the ground. However, this crop extracts most of its moisture with the top 20 centimeters of root, which means this is the area that will need to most moisture. After a proper soil moisture determination there are several techniques you can use to ensure proper moisture at different depths, so be sure to research your crops and the technologies available to you to increase your yield and reduce water events.
Use New Irrigation Technologies
Once you understand the moisture extraction pattern and you have set up your irrigation system accordingly, the next step involves ensuring plentiful moisture at just the right depths around the clock – despite the climate. Technologies like AquiMax will allow you to do this through the innovative use of surfactants and polymers that penetrate the ground and retain moisture. AquiMax® is an additive that is safe for most irrigation systems. The surfactant carries the polymers through the system into the soil, and once the polymers find their way into the ground, they expand with moisture. As your crop needs water, it can simply draw it from those stores. This technology was designed to not only improve yield and crop quality, but to also save money.
Farmers who rely on high-value crops for their livelihood certainly have much on their proverbial plates. Fortunately, by understanding the weather, learning about the crop’s moisture extraction pattern, and making use of the newest technologies in irrigation, it is possible to minimize effort and overhead cost, all while producing a better, more bountiful crop.