Increasing water use efficiency is very important as we enter the dryest period of the year. These are the times where food prices are mostly high.
Farmers can take advantage of these high prices to make more income. That is if they are able to cultivate successfully. They need water.
The cost of crop production during the dry season is worrying to many farmers. They seek new tools and practices to reduce the cost of water use.
How can a farmer increase water use efficiency?
According to the FAO, there are many ways farmers can look to increase water efficiency. Here are just a few of their recommendations:
- Reduce direct evaporation during irrigation by avoiding midday sprinkling. Minimize foliar interception of water by irrigating under-canopy rather than overhead sprinkling.
- Reduce evaporation from bare soil by mulching and by keeping the inter-row strips dry
- Reduce transpiration by weeds, keeping the inter-row strips dry and applying weed control measures where needed.
- Select crops most suitable and marketable for the region.
- Use optimal timing for plant and harvest.
- Use optimal tillage and voice excessive cultivation.
- Avoid progressive salinization by monitoring water table elevation.
- Irrigate at high frequency and in the exact amounts needed to prevent water deficits, knowing the weather conditions and crop growth stages.
- Practice soil conservation for long-term sustainability.