Growing Magazine - March, 2011

DEPARTMENTS

Editor's Notes: Water, Water, Everywhere?

By Bob M. Montgomery

One of the biggest challenges for growers everywhere is water management. Anyone who's been in agriculture for more than five minutes knows that you rarely have just what you need; all too often, it's either drought or flood.

As with so many industries in the last century, the irrigation world has benefited in huge ways from technology. From conservation and accurate measurement to transportation and application, irrigation technology advances yearly in leaps and bounds.

Since the first farmers began working the land to produce food, irrigation and water management have been a part of the job. Early growers dug rudimentary trenches to bring water from nearby streams and rivers to their plants. The famous aqueducts of the Roman world enabled much larger scale growing operations in dry areas to feed the empire. As technology advanced, farmers were able to pipe water directly to plants themselves with even greater accuracy.

Now, we're able to predict plant needs and accommodate for weather patterns weeks in advance; we're able to transport precise amounts of water hundreds of miles to growers' fields efficiently and accurately; we're even able to measure individual droplet sizes to optimally provide water at a level previously unheard of in agriculture.

These advances, of course, benefit growers in so many ways: saving water, adding to bottom lines, improving production and so much more. Investing in improved irrigation technology for your operation is just that - an investment.

So, what's the future of irrigation look like for producers? There is no shortage of issues, for sure, but technology will undoubtedly meet those challenges. Continued improvement of monitoring and weather integration is certainly on the horizon; look for equipment with greater application efficiency, of course.

However, that old saw, "it takes money to make money," still holds true.

So, are you investing in your future?