With the drought issue at hand, what innovative technologies are being used to reduce agricultural water consumption?

Facing a drought and water shortages can be very difficult for farmers and ranchers. With this in mind, farmers and ranchers continue to develop innovative ways to conserve water through irrigation methods. Water stewardship is important for animal and plant health and the future of farming. Some of the efficient irrigation methods farmers are using include drip tape, subsurface application, well-designed center-pivot, among others.

Farmers are working to use the most efficient methods to use irrigation water more precisely. Extensive research has helped farmers who irrigate reduce water usage by customizing application to soil and seed needs, resulting in less wasted water.  Also, the way crops are watered has changed with tools like drip tape irrigation for vegetable and fruit farmers in which irrigation pipes with holes are laid along the ground reducing evaporation and using less water than flood irrigation.

http://water.usgs.gov/edu/irmethods.html

Additionally, now more than ever, farmers are working to adapt irrigation schedules to the current environmental conditions. Through new research and technologies, farmers now apply water at the precise time that the plant best utilizes moisture, thus avoiding overwatering.

http://www.cuesa.org/article/10-ways-farmers-are-saving-water

Many farmers are adopting new technologies that allow them to pull local weather data and install water sensors in fields. These sustainable technologies are helping farmers know not only when it’s time to irrigate but also exactly how much water should be applied, thus reducing water use. 

http://www.nebraskacorn.org/news-releases/water-making-every-drop-count/

USFRA Point of View

Focus on Improvement USFRA farmer and rancher affiliates – and our industry partners – understand the importance of reducing agriculture’s impact on water. Over the past few decades, farmers and ranchers have continuously worked to find innovative solutions to improve their impact on water. An... Read more