Irrigation should not be applied uniformly in fields because soil differs in structure and texture. Understanding water movement dynamics for individual fields are very important for irrigation scheduling.
Improved irrigation efficiency is becoming highly important due to the current decrease in available water resources and growing populations that lead to expansion of agricultural activities. Therefore proper water usage and management is vital for agricultural producers.
The relationship between plants and water is delicate. Too little water can lead to plant stress, resulting in wilting. Too much can lead to risk of pathogen infection and loss of nutrients supporting the plant via leaching.
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to irrigation water quality. The best place to start is knowing the quality of your irrigation water.
Water is a precious resource and everything possible should be done to ensure that it is used carefully and efficiently.
When dairy effluent is viewed as waste water, it is all about getting rid off it. However when it is viewed as beneficial water, it is all about the opportunity costs of the nutrients.
Good water management practices can significantly contribute to better water use efficiency. This is an economic advantage on farms, contributes to environmental stewardship and is a social responsibility of farmers.
The average water use across farms is therefore 911 litres of water per litre of milk. The main point I would like to make though is that the water use efficiency varies between the different farm systems.
The SWAN system is composed of soil, water, atmosphere and nutrient components. The best way to show how these integrated and interrelated measures reflect the journey of improving agricultural sustainability is to show a case study of a farm which has become more sustainable over the past five years.