22 Jul Stretching Your Water
Water resources are precious in normal years. With an extremely dry growing season, stretching each drop to its full potential can be the difference between crop loss and profitability.
Here are a few easy-to-implement low-cost tips you can share with growers to help them stretch their water resources.
Adjust irrigation schedule to plant water usage
- Try to avoid water stress during flowering or fruiting periods
- Generally, plant water stress should be avoided during rapid fruit growth.
- Water stress during the end-of-season ripening stages often has a lower effect on yield
Let perennial crops go dormant
- Many perennial crops are adapted to summer deficits and will go dormant during times of drought, then will readily regrow when water is again available, Alfalfa and many other forage crops are good examples. In many cases, it is better to severely limit the water to these crops allowing them to go into and stay in dormancy until adequate water is again available.
- This will allow you to focus your water on high-value crops.
Ensure Irrigation uniformity
- If the irrigation system inherently applies more water in some areas and less water in others, then some areas will either have excessive water or not enough.
- Maintain or repair irrigation systems to operate as intended.
Use the soil as water storage
- Amend soils with gypsum to help the soils increase water holding capacity
- Use a surfactant to improve infiltration and reduce runoff.
Water less frequently with more water each time
- Irrigating frequently results in a greater total amount of time where water is available for evaporation.
- If more water is applied less frequently, then the water is pushed deeper into the soil where it is unavailable for evaporation from the soil surface but is still available for absorption and use by the crop roots.
- This assumes you don’t have hydrophobic, saline/sodic, or poor soil quality.
- To improve water initiation consider Aqua-Drive or Fast Lap.
For more ideas check out this great article by Washington State University
And this one from UC Davis
Fast Lap is an irrigation water soil surfactant with a unique blend of humectants and surfactants formulated to improve infiltration and retention of irrigation water and rainfall within the soil profile.
Download the Fast Lap information sheet or to learn more about using Fast Lap in your irrigation program, contact your Diamond K Rep today.