As we start heading into the hotter months of the year, and with NIWA predicting a likely El Nino weather system, irrigation will be even more critical to farming success. More than at any other time of the year, this is when ensuring the most efficient use of water is critical, because farmers can significantly reduce costs and enhance their productivity through water use efficiency.
Water use efficiency is the ratio of water beneficially used to the irrigation water delivered to the field. It’s an essential consideration for farmers, because it means they can take cost out of the business by irrigating as efficiently as possible.
So what are the key benefits of efficient water use? They include:
- Reduced pumping costs
The less water you use, the more you can reduce pumping costs. Electricity savings are immediate benefits to the bottom line.
- Reduced water usage
If you irrigate as efficiently as possible, the water you have available can be extended. It means you’ll have more available at the end of the season when it gets really dry.
- Reduced fertiliser use
The less fertiliser is washed away by irrigation, the less you need to use. Not only that, but fertilisers are retained in the correct layer to stimulate plant growth and productivity.
- Nitrate reductions
The right amount of water means that there’s less chance nitrates will flow through the soil profile into the groundwater.
- Provenance and compliance
Increased focus on water use and related consents mean that farmers will need to justify their water use and irrigation events.
How do you go about achieving these benefits? There are several tools available that can help. They can be added to an existing monitoring infrastructure over a staged timeline, or installed all at once.
Soil moisture and temperature sensors are a sensible first investment. Essentially, they provide an ‘x-ray’ of the ground moisture content. Rain gauges are also a good idea, as they measure how much actual irrigated water and natural water is being used. Installing simple tools like this can quickly build a picture of water usage and the efficiencies which can lead to operational cost savings.
Watermetrics has a range of related solutions and services designed to help you improve water use efficiency and manage your irrigation, such as:
- Provision of water management and consent management
- Telemetry monitoring solutions
- Installation and ongoing maintenance of equipment
- Electronic collection, storage and presentation of collected on-farm data
- Soil Moisture and Temperature
- ET and Weather Station monitoring
- Electricity Spot Market pricing
- Water Ordering
- Water Transfer Platform
- Irrigation Schemes
If you’re keen to find out more, get in touch with us and we’ll arrange a time to discuss how we can help you make better decisions around your water use.