The Benefits of Irrigation Management
In farming, no matter if the crop is corn, potatoes, or grass hay, the name of the game is water. Whether it comes from Mother Nature in Kansas or from hose reel irrigation machine in California, the number one input to the crop is water. Water can carry nutrients from the soil through the roots to the plant, so that it can grow and return a yield; unfortunately, it can also run off the field, carrying nutrients and topsoil with it, or it can leach nutrients past the roots. Loss of water and nutrients have the same result – lost dollars – both in operating and fertilizer costs.
Though Mother Nature has proven time and time again that she doesn’t care about the plans or schedules we’ve made for the growing season, we still have the ability to control what water we apply ourselves. Irrigation management and scheduling provide growers an important tool to match irrigation to the crop water needs.
The relationship between soil water content and plant roots is like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We are looking for the porridge that is just right. Under watering can stress crops. Overwatering can stress the crop, increase pumping and irrigation costs, and allow diseases to establish and leach nutrients past the root zone. Maintaining just the right amount of soil moisture makes for maximum yield potential, higher crop quality, and good stewardship of the environment.
What is the most efficient and cost effective way to monitor soil moisture and schedule of irrigation pump ?
The classic method of monitoring is to put boots on...
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