Sustainable farming practices are essential for ensuring long-term success while also minimising impacts on the environment. One key part of sustainable farming is water efficiency.
By implementing various water-saving techniques and technologies, you can significantly reduce water consumption while still ensuring optimal crop growth.
Why is water management important?
Water management is the planning, regulating, and distribution of water resources. The efficient use of water resources will not only help minimise water waste but also maximise crop growth, yields and profits.
One of the most important ways water can be managed on a farm is through irrigation, a water management system in agriculture when delivering water to crops. However, improper irrigation management can cause many problems such as; water pollution, soil erosion, over-abstraction, damage to crops…
It’s high time to pay proper attention to irrigation for a sustainable and effective water management on your farm.
Enhancing Water Efficiency for a Greener Future
There are several factors to consider while trying to use water more efficiently on your farm: local climate, water source, soil, crop choice and more. Management strategies designed with these factors in mind can ensure sustainable water use and the continued success of agricultural systems.
There are three key stages to consider throughout the process of irrigation, including the pre- and post-irrigation stages:
- Pre-Irrigation Stage: Capturing and Storing Water
One method for efficient water use involves the practice of rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is the collection of rainwater during and/or after rainfall events. Once collected, the rainwater is stored for future use.
Rainwater harvesting can be utilised for irrigating crops and plants in agricultural fields, thereby reducing farmers’ dependence on alternative water sources.
Furthermore, with our ever changing climate conditions, where rainfall patterns are becoming more unpredictable with more intense downpours, rainwater harvesting plays a crucial role in safeguarding food growth.. By diverting heavy rainfall away from agricultural lands, rainwater harvesting helps protect crop plants from potential damage as well as provide a source of water through periods of drought.
- During irrigation: Scheduling plays an important role
Irrigation scheduling is the process of determining the correct frequency and duration of watering required across your farm.
The significance of irrigation scheduling ultimately enhances the efficiency of the irrigation process. An essential factor in achieving this efficiency is the accurate measurement of the volume of water applied on a farm. Without this knowledge, a farmer cannot effectively manage water to its maximum potential.
To attain the utmost benefits from irrigation scheduling, it is crucial to ensure uniform water distribution throughout the field. Accurate water application plays a vital role in preventing both over- and under-irrigation.
- Over-irrigation not only results in the wastage of water, energy, and labour, but it also retards the growth of the plants. Additionally, over-irrigation reduces soil aeration.
- Under Irrigation places stress on the plants and leads to a reduction in yield.
During the warmer, sunnier conditions, it is advisable to water your crops in the morning or in the evening to maximise efficiency. This practice helps prevent water loss due to evaporation, which mostly occurs during the midday sun.
The optimal growth of crops can be achieved with many types of irrigation such as drip lines through the utilisation of drip irrigation, which is considered the most efficient method for providing crops with the necessary water and nutrients as it delivers water. This technique delivers precise amounts of water and nutrients directly to the root zone of each plant at the appropriate time. As a result, farmers can increase their yields while reducing their usage of water, fertilisers, and energy.
Drip irrigation can conserve up to 80 percent more water than conventional irrigation methods, but there are other ways to irrigate which may be more suitable for your farm.
As solar water pump manufacturers we get asked often – isn’t it most efficient to use a solar pump during the midday sun for irrigation? So doesn’t that contradict when it is most efficient to irrigate – well yes, but there is a really simple solution. You can pump water into an over-head tank throughout the day taking advantage of the strong sun and then take advantage of gravity flow to irrigate during the most suitable periods – giving you control.
- Post-Irrigation Stage: Compost and Mulch
Compost and mulch work hand in hand to create a harmonious ecosystem on the farm.
When compost is added to the soil, it enriches it with essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are vital for plant growth. Additionally, compost improves soil structure by increasing its ability to hold water and air, creating a well-drained and aerated environment that promotes root development.
Mulch, on the other hand, prevents both water loss and soil erosion by acting as a protective barrier between the soil and the external environment, such as heavy rain or wind and bright sunshine. It helps to retain moisture by reducing evaporation, preventing the soil from drying out too quickly during hot periods.
When compost and mulch are used together, they create a combined effect that benefits your crops. By incorporating compost and mulch into your farm you can ensure the long-term health and vitality of your crops and soils while also reducing the need for water, synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.
The Future of Water Conservation
Water conservation is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed in order to ensure a sustainable future. The way we use water today will have a significant impact on the availability of this precious resource in the years to come for both agriculture and for safe drinking sources.
As the population of our planet continues to grow, water conservation will become even more important. This is particularly important in fields like agriculture that already use so much freshwater. Even if you’re just a smallholder farmer, you can adopt these simple techniques to help you conserve water for both you and the plant
At Futurepump we have three pumps available through our webshop which are suited for different farming requirements:
The Futurepump SE1: For pumping up to 1,600 L/hr in full sunshine. The SE1 has a suction lift of 7m and total head of 15m.
The Futurepump SF2: Pumps up to 3,600 L/hr in full sun with a suction lift of 7m and total head of 15m.
The SF2H (high-head SF2): To get the SF2H you can purchase an upgrade kit on our webshop. With the SF2H you can pump up to 1,500 L/hr at a maximum head of 25m (120W version) or 45m (240W version).