5 Ways Growers Conserve Water
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Farmers are working not only to feed our families but to do so more sustainably. With agriculture accounting for approximately 80 percent of our nation's water, farmers use innovative practices like the ones listed below to reduce the amount of water they use. Bayer promotes programs that optimize water usage, as well as stewardship measures focused on protecting water from run-off of crop protection products. Are you a farmer? If so, how do you conserve and protect water?
1. Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation provides water-use efficiency of more than 95 percent, meaning farmers are reducing water usage by over 60 percent compared to traditional flooding methods. Drip Irrigation is more effective than traditional sprinkler systems because it gets to crop roots much quicker.
2. Irrigation Scheduling
Frequency and timing also are important when working to conserve water. Farmers adapt their irrigation schedule to the current conditions to avoid overwatering their crops and can do so with a variety of digital tools. They do so by monitoring the weather, of course, as well as monitoring soil and plant moisture.
3. Drought Tolerant Crops
Growing crops native to the local climate is another way some farmers are using less water. Crops can also be genetically engineered to withstand harsh growing conditions such as drought and pests.
4. Cover crops
Cover crops – which are planted between growing seasons -- not only help the soil but also are a way to conserve water. A cover crop is a crop of a specific plant that is mainly grown for the benefit of soil rather than crop yield. They are typically grasses or legumes but may be comprised of other green plants! Cover crops increase organic matter in the soil and reduce erosion by maintaining moisture and reducing evaporation.
5. Conservation Tillage
Through conservation tillage practices, farmers plant without removing residue from the previous season’s crop. Similar to cover crops, conservation tillage methods, such as low- or no-till, help retain moisture and nutrients in the soil.