Droughts are part of this Prairie climate and acute, protracted droughts can place a strain on irrigation water supplies. Improvements can raise energy-use efficiencies, enhance crop yields, and improve the sustainability of water sources. Some of those improvements will also be qualified for existing monetary incentive programs.
Shifting to water-efficient sprinklers is 1 method to boost water-use efficiencies.
Numerous clinics can help farmers using irrigation to make every drop count during short term water limits.
“Irrigation scheduling is among the very first things that farmers can perform,” states Jeff Ewen, an irrigation agrologist with Saskatchewan Agriculture. Irrigation scheduling is the process of discovering when and how much water to use to a harvest.
Appropriate irrigation scheduling optimizes crop yields and reduces water lost through deep percolation and runoff. Saskatchewan’s Irrigation Scheduling Manual along with the Alberta Irrigation Management Manual provide advice on irrigation scheduling.
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Be Aware of the Crucial watering interval
“Then, after that, is to target irrigation programs to the harvest’s crucial watering interval,” Ewen states.
Therefore, in drought scenarios you may need to be certain that you’re watering in the most crucial times,” Ewen states. For instance, for tomatoes the important phase is tuber initiation and tuber bulking, whereas for dried legumes the important phase is through flowering and pod-set.
Growers may also correct the time of irrigation programs. Ewen states,”You may apply water through the warmer times of the day and at calmer conditions to decrease evaporation so that you get the most from the available water.”
Convert from efficient methods
Choices for longer-term improvements include transformation from less effective to more efficient irrigation methods.
And those that are running center pivot irrigation but are still using overhead sprinklers or high-pressure systems can convert them into low-pressure fall nozzle systems”
You can be more effective if you are watering at the efficacy it is programmed to perform.” He describes that nozzle life spans range from approximately five to ten decades, depending upon the water supply; water using much more sediment will cause quicker wear. Growers should begin assessing their nozzles for wear following five decades.
Ewen’s final trick would be to think about a variable rate irrigation (VRI) system. VRI provides potential benefits like enhanced water-use and energy-use efficiencies and more uniform crop quality and yield throughout the area. In VRI systems, irrigation water can be implemented using a prescription map based on variables such as the variations of soil texture and topography throughout the area.
For example, low areas in the area where water will pool could get more irrigation water compared to higher places. Then, for every irrigation program, ideally that prescription could be corrected to apply the appropriate quantity of water as soil moisture levels and crop water demands change over the duration of the growing season.
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Likewise the provincial authorities in Saskatchewan provide financial incentives which pay some of the expenses associated with improving irrigation systems. These incentives have been provided through Saskatchewan’s Farm Stewardship Program, which will be under Growing Forward 2.
A couple of instances of irrigation-related qualified project costs include: design, installation and purchase of a brand new low-pressure irrigation method; alteration of irrigation gear like substances and setup for low-pressure systems like low-pressure sprinkler nozzles and pressure regulators; and installation and purchase of VRI gear.