Irrigate for the Future - Save, Cypriot


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Irrigate for the Future - Save, Cypriot

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Irrigate for the Future - Save, Cypriot

  1. 1. IRRIGATE FOR THE FUTURE Use soil moisture to determine when fields and orchards need irrigation to avoid overwatering. Different crop types, soil types and weather conditions all affect the amount and frequency of irrigation needed for farms and orchards. OVERWATERING HURTS YOUR PLANTS AND TREES AND DEPLETES WATER RESERVES! Why EFFICIENT IRRIGATION BASED ON SOIL MOISTURE matters: • Big water savings for everyone—agriculture comprises roughly 70% of total water consumption. • Irrigation scheduling based on soil moisture can generate annual water savings of at least 10% or 103 tons per donum (tons per 1,337.8 m²) based on local studies by SAVE. 1400 • Better water quality with less seawater intrusion. Less pumping Recommended protects groundwater reserves. 1200 • Improved crop production, such as sweeter oranges. Irrigation Requirement Typical 1000 • Reduced production costs and improved production yields due 800 to less pumping and optimal watering. (m 3/ha/month) 600 400 VARY IRRIGATION SCHEDULE WITH SEASONS! 200 In certain orchards, the same amount of water is used to irrigate 0 n throughout the year regardless of the actual need of the crops. Ja Feb ar pr M A May ne Ju ly Ju Au g pt t This contributes to overwatering in the winter as shown in this Se Oc Nov De c graph which can harm your crop. Effects of Overwatering on Crop Production: • Fruit that is less sweet with less pulp, • More soil-borne diseases, • Increased potential for root rot, • Leaching out of nutrients from the soil, • Increased costs for pumping and fertilizer use, and • Ultimately, decreased fruit production. IRRIGATE BASED ON SOIL MOISTURE, CROP TYPE & SOIL TYPE! SOIL TYPES AND WATER-HOLDING CAPACITY Soil type and texture determine how much water is held in the soil, how much water is available for plants to use and ultimately how well they grow. Soil texture indicates the proportions of fine and coarse material making up the soil. The finer the soil, the higher its water-holding capacity. Soil types in Cyprus can be divided into three broad categories with different water-holding capacities: Light soil: High sand content (coarse material) Medium soil: High silt content (medium-coarse material) Heavy soil: High clay content (fine material) Local Resources The local agricultural offices, as well as the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Agricultural Engineers (TCAE), can be a good source of information on specific irrigation guidelines for different soil and crop types. Strong consideration should also be given to growing alternative crops with Photos from top to bottom: A modern hydroponic irrigation low irrigation requirements, such as pomegranates, capers, and prickly system; Typical versus recommended irrigation rates; Soil pears. Contact TCAE for more information on alternative crops and ball method; Soil moisture system with moisture probes and low-flow irrigation systems. precipitation gauge. ENVIRONMENT ◊ CULTURAL HERITAGE ◊ GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS ◊ SMALL GRANTSE-MAIL: TEL: (+90) 392 228 1925 / (+357) 22 770 757 FAX: (+90) 392 228 17 56
  2. 2. Key Concepts By adopting irrigation rates based on the specific When you irrigate your soil, excess water drains away, leaving the water needs of your plants, the soil type they are soil at its field capacity. Now, the soil has available water that planted in, weather conditions, and by monitoring can be used by the plants. As the available water is used up by plants soil moisture to fine-tune these irrigation rates, you and lost to evaporation, the soil moisture reaches a wilting point can irrigate efficiently and help save water. below which a plant dies. THE GÜZELYURT/MORPHOU SOIL MOISTURE PILOT STUDY Soil is full of water To assess potential water savings through efficient irri- gation practices, SAVE has been conducting a pilot soil moisture WATER DRAINS FIELD CAPACITY study in collaboration with local WATER IS HELD IN SOIL Water in soil is available to plants farmer, Mr. Fuat Bağkur, at his WILTING POINT citrus and pomegranate orchards PLANTS DIE in Bostancı/Zodia. Soil is almost dry Mr. Bağkur has his own well and a drip irrigation sys- tem, giving him full control over the watering schedule which was already calibrated based on crop type and soil type, but not checked against actual soilIMPORTANT! Even though heavy soil has the highest water- moisture. As part of the pilot study, moisture probesholding capacity, medium soil has the highest amount of available were installed next to selected pomegranate and citruswater for plants. As the soil texture becomes finer as in heavy trees in three types of soil—light, medium and heavy.soils, it is harder for plants to suck the water from the soil, At each location, a combined salinity, temperature, andhence resulting in less available water. moisture probe was placed approximately 15cm belowMEASURING SOIL MOISTURE ground surface (bgs), and moisture probes were placedKnowing the moisture of your soil helps you determine its irriga- at 30 and 50cm bgs. Data were collected from thetion needs. Soil moisture can be measured using a variety of probes at regular intervals.methods including soil feel and appearance, soil sampling, ten-siometers and soil moisture probes. Tensiometers are relativelyinexpensive and available at certain plumbing or hardware storesin Cyprus. Soil moisture probes, also used in SAVE’s local stud-ies, provide direct readings which can be saved on a computer.Such instruments can also measure rainfall and salinity in soil. SIMPLE SOIL MOISTURE TEST In most soils, soil moisture can quickly be checked using the “Soil Ball Method.” To do this, dig a small hole and remove a handful of soil from 15 to 30 centimeters deep. Using your hand, squeeze the soil into a ball. Then, open your hand and bounce the ball in the palm of you hand. If it remains in a ball, the soil has enough moisture and does not need watering. If it falls apart, the soil needs watering. It should be noted that this method does not work in light sandy An analysis of the soil moisture data is presented in the soils. graph above for the citrus orchard with medium soil.HOW MUCH TO IRRIGATE SAVE used FAO’s CROPWAT software to estimateDifferent crops require different amounts of water. Some of the recommended soil moisture levels, or irrigation re-water is used for plant growth which is known as transpiration quirements, for this soil and tree type (blue, green,and some is lost by evaporation from the ground. The two terms yellow and red zones). Each peak on the graph indi-combined is known as “evapotranspiration,” or the water need cates the increase in soil moisture during an irrigationof a plant. How much to irrigate then depends on the evapotran- cycle. Relative to the estimated irrigation require-spiration rate for a Irrigation Rate ments, the data indicated that the trees were beingparticular plant AND Texture over-watered at least half the time. Better results were (cm/hour)the soil type. The ta- Light (sand) 2.5 – 7.5 seen with the pomegranates. SAVE estimated that 10%ble shows recom- Medium (loam) or 103 tons of water per donum could be saved 0.75 – 2.0mended irrigation annually if the citrus was being irrigated more effi- Heavy (clay) 0.02 – 0.5 ciently. Even greater savings could result on farms andrates just based on thethree soil types. These irrigation rates further vary by season and orchards not already scheduling irrigation based on soilby plant type and maturity. For example, orange trees require moisture, crop and soil type.more water than pomegranate trees. Young trees generally re- August 2008quire more water than mature trees. Source: ENVIRONMENT ◊ CULTURAL HERITAGE ◊ GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS ◊ SMALL GRANTS E-MAIL: TEL: (+90) 392 228 1925 / (+357) 22 770 757 FAX: (+90) 392 228 17 56