Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Agriculture faces a big challenge

growing corn with center pivotWorld's population is growing quickly, and we're not only talking about adding more people, we're talking about more people with better lives. 

Agriculture faces a big challenge, it has to produce food to feed 9 billion people by 2050. Experts say that there will be no enough resources to provide food for our population. Moreover, some aquifers under the surface are going down the drain. 

Farmers can't grow corn without irrigation, or it wouldn't be the kind of irrigation production that they're used to using. While dryland corn averages 24 bushels an acre, irrigated corn averages 200 bushels an acre. So the risk with dryland is important. The loss of irrigation would mean less income, fewer business, a decline in land values...

The answer is not shutting off every center pivot. Farms and irrigation communities will never accept to stop watering with machines that make their local agricultural production be sustainable.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The best crop insurance is irrigation

center pivot irrigation system
Irrigation is one of the most important factors that contribute to agricultural prosperity. Uniform and timely applications of water to crops help to avoid water losses in long dry seasons, and produce revenues by increasing crop yields in normal seasons. Irrigation creates more predictable yields and a reduction in risk that is so important to farmers. In fact, we might even say that the best crop insurance is irrigation.

Most farmers started to invest in irrigation after the Second World War, primarily focusing on high-value vegetable crops and not on grain crops. The irrigation of potatoes, sweet corn, beans, tomatoes and other vegetables improved yield and quality. In those days, irrigation systems were moved by hand across the field and water usually came from ponds.

Center-pivot systems began to appear, irrigating larger acreages without the need for hand labor.

With the emergence of the poultry industry, the demand for grain corn as a primary feed source grew rapidly. A lot of farmers responded by investing in center pivot irrigation systems. But this irrigation system is not only useful to feed poultry industry, but it also mitigates nutrient movement to groundwater and streams by enhancing the uptake of nutrients by crops.