Local farmers look at ways to optimize irrigation
As the summers get hotter and drier, farmers in the Kootenay-Boundary region are stepping up to fine tune their irrigation systems to make sure that their crops will get the right amount of water, at the right time, without wasting a drop.
Irrigation is necessary for most crop production in the Kootenays, and farmers know that it is important to demonstrate stewardship and responsible water use to receive support from the broader community.
In order to maximize water use and ensure that crops are getting the right amount of water, farmers are pinpointing areas to improve their own irrigation systems.
Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors (KBFA) general advisor and irrigation designer, Andrew Bennett explained: “For a number of reasons, we’re likely to have less and less water available to irrigate in peak season.
“Planning your crop water demand ahead of time to ensure that your system can deliver what your farm needs is very important. Automation of irrigation systems is also a way to ensure that you aren’t watering too much or too little, and it saves the producer valuable time, which is always in limited supply.”
Farmers are finding ways to use their irrigation effectively and sparingly. “Hotter, drier summers mean crops will need more water to thrive as well, but that’s right when water levels will get really low as the hills stop supplying our rivers and aquifers,” said Andrew.
The Kootenay & Boundary Farm Advisors are on the heels of a weeklong series of irrigation audit field days and farm visits through the region from Invermere to Grand Forks.
Those who couldn’t make it into the field can take a look at the brand new 12-part video series “Farm Water Fix” to provide resources for farms looking to make a change and take matters into their own hands. This series provides recommendations on how to optimize water usage on the farm and combat climate change.
KBFA offers free technical extension, resources, and support for farmers in the region.
Farmers are able to find irrigation resources and sign up for free upcoming field days at KBFA.ca.
Lead and above image: The recent irrigation field day series at Winderberry & Edible Acres Farm in Windermere and at Mehmal Farm and Ranch in Grand Forks. Photos submitted
Kootenay and Boundary Farm Advisors