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In-field agronomist irrigation update

With dry field conditions being experienced by many this summer this has increased the need for irrigation, with many growers stretched to the limit, explains Andy Alexander, Independent Agronomist and Potato Specialist.

With dry field conditions being experienced by many this summer this has increased the need for irrigation, with many growers stretched to the limit, explains Andy Alexander, Independent Agronomist and Potato Specialist.

“In the east of the country, growers are experiencing drought like conditions,” he adds.

Limits

“Large amounts of growers are constrained by their irrigation capabilities, as older irrigation licences and infrastructure are not able to keep up with expanding businesses and pressures caused by recent dry conditions.

“In light of this, growers must be aware and speak to their agronomist in order to gain advice on targeted and sensible water usage, to ensure that valuable supplies are not wasted.”

Targeting

“It’s important in dry conditions to target irrigation to the potato crops that are in most need, and provide the best return on investment for the farm,” he explains.

“In these circumstances growers must evaluate the markets that their crops are destined for as part of their targeting strategy and ensure that the correct amount of water is applied.

“For example, if growers are producing potatoes for the fresh sector the level of watering will be aimed at creating a good skin finish, whereas if producing for the processing sector growers will be watering for yield.”

Andy’s top tips for targeted irrigation:

  • Ensure that you understand the water requirements for your varieties and the markets they are destined for to enable targeted calculation of irrigation plans
  • Understand the site – be aware of soil type, variability, climate and depth of ground water to enable correct establishment of irrigation needs
  • It’s worthwhile to fit a pressure gauge to your irrigation gun to ensure that the correct pressure is being achieved

For more information on how to ensure that you are making the most of your irrigation systems speak to your agronomist today or visit the AHDB website