3 Level-Headed Techniques for Water Management Success

profile picture BookMyCrop Nov 28, 2022

Not enough or too much. These frequently serve as the main drivers for applying more intelligent management techniques when it comes to water.

Finding the best solutions for your company means giving long-term sustainability priority over a quick cure. Water is a resource that is becoming more and more valuable, and regardless of its availability, managing it well today will have long-term advantages.

You can also actively take steps to level the playing field - literally - to take advantage of and personalize your water management solutions as extreme weather patterns become more frequent and less predictable.

For developing and putting into practice successful, sustainable water management strategies, Trimble experts offer three suggestions.

Adopt a Holistic Approach
While technology enables farmers and contractors to specialize in their water management strategies more than ever, overall success necessitates a multifaceted strategy rather than a single fix.

Josh Shuler, the manager of Trimble's water management product team, adds that he has "seen far too many individuals skip steps or miss them." "To properly achieve the ROI of your investment, you must have a vision that covers years one through ten."

He gives the case of a farmer in northeast Missouri who wanted to increase his production. Due to the scarce and expensive land in the area, the farmer weighed the expense of expanding his operation against the cost of incrementally improving his current water management system to increase crop productivity.

The farmer made the decision to strategically construct land to divert surface water after running the calculations on a detailed long-term plan, adding rivers and terraces where necessary. In order to change the levels of the subsurface water table, he also developed a subsurface controlled drainage system.

Increasing precision is one aspect of managing water holistically to make sure each stage is measured and handled properly. The survey, analysis, design, installation, and verification phases of surface and subsurface drainage projects are simplified by precision technology, such as Trimble's WM-Drain farm drainage system combined with WM-Subsurface software.

"The farmer in Missouri made a large investment in a very closed-loop system (where nearly all precipitation and groundwater was captured to be utilized for underground irrigation), but it resulted in a 5-7 year return, which was a considerably quicker ROI than buying additional property," Shuler explains. The farmer was able to evaluate and comprehend the long-term worth because he was able to step back and adopt a comprehensive perspective.

Control variation to achieve expectations
Regardless of the topography, climate, geography, or soil conditions, effective water management is not universal. According to Scott Azbell, Trimble Water Management Sales and Strategy Manager, it's critical to establish reasonable expectations based on your dedication to managing variables.

When you have a small budget, it's usually preferable to finish your water management plan entirely in the region that requires the most attention rather than merely partially. By doing so, you may properly assess the system's advantages and budget for subsequent implementations without worrying about getting disappointingly little-to-no outcomes.

In order to control drainage, a farmer who was experiencing maize output variability of 75–150 bushels per acre installed pattern tile, according to Azbell."Now that he has spread that investment over the whole field, he observes a steady field average of 165 bushels per acre. He concentrated on a single problem and stuck with it, which enabled him to improve other portions of the farm by expanding controlled drainage.

Don't just rely on tradition
The mindset of continuing a management technique solely out of tradition (such as consistently moving dirt or laying underground drainage tile, depending on where you are) may be one worth evaluating in light of the growing emphasis on sustainability. After all, we must keep in mind that soil structure and health are important elements of the water management puzzle.

Nowadays, everyone wants to accomplish more with fewer resources, so doing things the same way you always have is inefficient, according to Shuler. Future farmers and contractors that use holistic water management strategies (both conventional and unconventional) will have more flexibility.

But often the hardest part of the process is deciding where to start with change. Solutions like Trimble's WM-Survey II app, which enables users to create simple field surveys, can offer a simple entry point into water management. Along with automatically creating cross-section profile designs for terraces and waterways, the programme also offers choices for tiling design verification.

The result of this complete strategy, according to Shuler, is real-time and cost savings. "Effective water management needs a combination of things we've done in the past, as well as new techniques and ways of thinking," he adds. After all, it's noteworthy if you can extend the window for spring planting or fall harvesting by 3–4 days following a major downpour or if you can reduce year-over-year variability by 50–75% regardless of weather patterns.

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