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.