As a prosperous farm owner, you recognize the importance of maintaining a functioning irrigation system. Good agriculture stems from the ability to water your crops promptly and effectively to produce a large enough yield to meet consumer demands. Unfortunately, there are many uncontrollable factors that hurt your irrigation system efficiency and negatively impact your harvest yield.
You can remedy many of these outside forces with precaution and regular maintenance, while others are unpredictable and out of control. To better understand the various elements that hamper irrigation systems, here are some of those factors and some solutions you can implement with ease.
The layout of your irrigation system is surprisingly critical when ensuring efficient watering of your crops. Even the smallest of details affect how well you can irritate the land. For starters, it’s best practice to set your water source on higher ground, if possible, and allow gravity to do the work of moving liquids for you—this layout is for drip irrigation systems. If your land is too uneven to allow water to flow naturally, sprinkler systems can utilize technology and efficiently irrigate from above the soil.
Consider the topography of your farmland, as elevation plays a huge role in how water flows and reaches all your crops. Depending on the landscape, you can implement leveled surface flow, check basin, furrow, or seepage irrigation systems—research which method works best for you.
Different weather conditions can negatively impact irrigation efficiency and affect farmlands in any climate. These factors include:
- Heat waves
Weather conditions such as humidity, frost, and extreme heat waves affect your crops, soil, and equipment. With intense heat, in particular, equipment will need to work harder for less efficiency, causing damaging wear and tear in shorter periods of time. Aggressive wind patterns affect the accuracy of sprinkler systems, wasting water and leaving your crops vulnerable to drying out or even dying.
Evaporation is the bane of any farmer’s existence, and unfortunately, there aren’t too many precautions you can take when combating this climate condition. The best method here is to water plants at times when they are under less stress from the sun and heat, such as right before nightfall—this allows your crops to hold more water before it evaporates.
An impure water source poses massive threats to your harvest, especially considering how it affects your irrigation equipment. When foreign materials and objects infiltrate your irrigation pipes, it damages your equipment and malnourished crops. Some possible contaminants include:
- Sand/Silt—an overabundance of sand or silt mainly threatens the integrity of your equipment and causes clogs and erosion over time.
- Bacteria—foreign bacteria present in your water source means your irrigation system is slowly poisoning your crops and soil.
- Plastic—microplastics can cause mayhem on piping, tubes, valves, and sprinkler heads. It also erodes equipment and crops themselves.
- Salt—high salt levels within your irrigation water will negatively impact your crops’ ability to absorb nutrients. Salt can also burn the edges of plants.
- Metals—unwelcomed metals primarily affect the soil’s nutrient levels and cause damages to your crops; however, irrigation equipment also suffers from metal in water, as it reacts negatively to other metallic materials.
When using reclaimed water sources, it’s best practice to recondition the source and have a laboratory test the water for impurities. Experts can determine the best course of action if they deem the water unacceptable for effective irrigation.
Condition of Equipment
It’s no secret that better-quality equipment produces an exceptional yield at an efficient rate. No matter the size of your farm, your irrigation systems benefit from well-maintained machinery and equipment. Troublesome issues occur when you install improper or damaged valves into your system, rust is present on equipment, or pipes have holes and leakage.
Ensuring you own the right equipment to deal with the backflow, impure water sources, and various weather conditions is crucial in running an efficient irrigation system. It’s not worth risking a low harvest yield by sticking with underperforming tools and machinery. Luckily, Rural Water Direct offers our clients superior agricultural plumbing supplies for all their farming needs. Our products are high-quality and help with irrigating your farm, front lawn, or personal garden.
Watering Schedule and Quantities
Knowing what days and times to water is vital when establishing an efficient irrigation system. Certain hours, especially when the sun burns brightest, render irrigation almost entirely useless due to quick evaporation—this wastes your time and the money you’re spending on the water. In some cases, depending on the temperature or climate condition, it may not be a good idea to use your irrigation system at all.
Efficient soaking is the name of the game when it comes to effective watering. The best time to water crops, especially in extreme heat, is between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Less sunshine and cooler temperatures reduce the chance of evaporation threatening the quality of your crops.
Pay attention to the crops themselves; if they don’t need more watering, don’t over-irrigate! Plants are extremely “vocal” about their nutritional needs, so stay observant. Furthermore, some soils and fertilizers require less water to help your yield effectively, so research how much water works best for your farmland.
Lastly, consider switching up irrigation methods (such as drip or sprinkler) depending on the weather, time of year, and any changes to topography—remember, the needs of your crops change regularly.
A successful farm is the result of a skilled farm owner and their valued farmhands. Your hard work and dedication are what set up your land for exceptional harvests. Unfortunately, agriculture is in a constant battle with the elements, adverse conditions, and outside forces that slowly damage your crops.
Here at Rural Water Direct, we’ve always prided ourselves on providing products for farmers by farmers. We know how vital a good yield is to your livelihood, and our inventory can help combat the factors that hurt your irrigation system efficiency. In the battle against these negative factors, Rural Water Direct is here to help you succeed!