Water is essential to life, not just to hydrate your body, but also to grow the foods that nourish it.
For farmers, access to water is big part of the equation. Here are a few facts about irrigation you may not know:
- Drip irrigation is a low volume, low-pressure system. It is more than 90% efficient. Water application is gradual, and less water is lost to runoff and evapotranspiration. Drip irrigation is especially suitable for the clay-rich soils of the Southeastern United States. Drip irrigation delivers water slowly immediately above, on or below the surface of the soil. This minimizes water loss due to runoff, wind and evaporation.
- The average water requirement for field grown nursery crops is one inch per week, from either precipitation or irrigation. One acre-inch of water is 27,154 gallons.
- Applying too much water not only wastes any chemicals that have been applied to a particular crop, but there is also potential for crop loss due to disease and root death. Proper water usage provides a variety of benefits to growers including:
- quality plant growth
- reduced nutrient loss
- reduced incidence of disease
- reduced incidence of insect pests
- reduced fertilizer and pesticide applications
- reduced levels of agrichemical runoff
- All of these benefits combine to save you money by reducing production costs.
And here’s a little more information from the Colorado Water Institute:
- More efficient irrigation methods like center pivot sprinklers and drip irrigation do a better job of delivering the water to the crop, so the crop may be more evenly irrigated, increasing yield.
- More efficient irrigation methods typically require less labor.
- More efficient irrigation methods leach less water through the soil, so a farmer may be able to save money on fertilizer and herbicides.
Learn more about South Carolina farmers from the SC Farm Bureau Federation’s website.