El Nino has been a hot topic in the farming and irrigation engineering world for some time now – and unfortunately the issue has far from disappeared.
Farmers are currently being urged to prepare for water shortages, which could occur halfway through this season.
The current El Nino pattern is on track to be ‘the second most intense since 1950’, with soils around the country drying out fast and irrigation in full swing as temperatures rise.
Government is also urging farmers to use irrigation water efficiently and plan for water restrictions as they prepared for El Nino.
IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis says planning and effective irrigation is key.
“Timing is everything in a marginal season. Irrigators need to start the season well and maintain consistent performance. Inefficient irrigation now will have a huge impact on whether your irrigation volume will see you through to March.”
“Ensuring irrigators are working as they should guarantees you’re getting the best from the water you apply. Simple early season calibration checks can save a lot of water over the season and are a no-brainer to execute. Some systems may be 20-30% out and using more water than you need will shorten your irrigation budget significantly.”
“Checking pressure and sprinklers is recommended. Down the track when we get squeezed, water re-nozzling might help stretch out volumes for longer. Alternatively if you operate a number of irrigation systems plan ahead now to shut off the less efficient ones; long laterals in pivot corners for example, if water restrictions start to bite. That way you can continue to operate more efficient irrigators such as pivots and linear moves for longer.”
Mr Curtis says the key to surviving this summer will be all about preparation and support is available for irrigating farmers to arm themselves before El Nino worsens.
If you need support with your farming irrigation systems, to ensure your farm thrives this season, contact the specialists at AG Water Ltd.