In agriculture, irrigation is vital to crop production. It’s estimated that up to 70% of the fresh water used by humans goes to irrigation. With the world’s population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 and changes in weather patterns affecting water availability, it is more important than ever to use irrigation water efficiently.
Today’s corn producers are growing more food while using irrigation 46% less than they were in the 1980s. How are they doing it?
One of the ways water conservation in agriculture is accomplished is through technology. Soil moisture monitors let farmers know how much water their crops really need. Through variable rate irrigation, farmers can determine how much water they need to apply in specific sections of their fields. Water is then only applied in necessary places.
In Nebraska, farmers can choose to be part of Aquamart, a farmer-led, field-level statewide water conservation initiative. Aquamart uses grassroots networking, precision technologies and best practices to create a blueprint for individual farmers to follow as they continually strive to improve their water management and on-farm profitability.
Livestock waste control systems are essential for preventing water pollution and promoting public health. These systems can also be a source of water for farmers to use on their fields, as well as contain nitrogen and phosphorus they can use to grow their next crop. This helps reduce the amount of fertilizer that’s needed.