Good quality of water is essential for the success of irrigated agriculture since poor quality can pose many hazards to plants. When it comes to determining the proper quality of the water for irrigation, two factors are taken into consideration: chemical and physical characteristics of the water. Ideally, you’d have several supplying options so you could make a selection but, usually, only one supply of water is available for your crops. That’s why it’s so important to know the mechanisms of ensuring optimal water quality for your irrigation systems. Here’s what you should pay attention to.
Monitor the salinity level
Sometimes, salt can accumulate near the crop roots so the crop becomes unable to extract sufficient water from the soil. Since water is essential for the crop development, too much salt will slow down their growth process and they’ll look like there’s been a drought – the plants might become blue and green, their leaves waxy, or they might even wilt.
Removing excess salt from the soil is the best solution and the best way to do it is by leaching. Salt content depends on the depth of the soil thus the upper root zone is the low salinity area. When that upper zone becomes depleted, the crop will look for water in the deeper and, therefore, saltier zones. That’s why irrigation timing is of utmost importance.
Purify your water
Various chemicals can be found in your irrigation water and cause many problems to your crops. For instance, high nitrogen concentrations can delay your crops maturity and cause lodging. Unusual pH of the water can cause various abnormalities, not to mention the damage plant pathogens can cause. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens found in the irrigation water can significantly affect your yield and lead to a loss of profit. That’s why investing in a high-quality water purification system is a must for any agriculture and horticulture business, advise the experts at UV Guard. Besides the damage to the crops, some chemicals can harm your irrigation equipment as well as pumps and wells.
Check the water infiltration rate
High sodium or calcium level in the water or in the soil can reduce the rate at which the water enters the soil meaning the water stays on the surfaces or infiltrates too slowly. That’s way crops won’t get sufficient water so make sure you don’t take this problem for granted. The salinity of the water is, again, important since high salinity level increases the infiltration.
Other factors can lead to this problem, too, such as excessive weeds, rotting of the seeds, and various nutritional disorders. Infiltration problems can lead to other problems, like mosquitoes.
Preserving a high-quality soil structure is essential in the process of solving the infiltration problem. For example, conservation and reducing the number of the trips across the field necessary to produce a crop can help with this problem since it minimizes the opportunity for soil compaction.
Beware of the toxic ions
Other things that can damage your crops are certain ions, such as sodium, chloride and boron. It all depends on the uptake and the sensitivity of the crop, but it can be a huge problem for every agriculture business.
Ions travel through the plant and accumulate in the areas where the water loss is the greatest – usually in the leaves and its edges. That’s how you’ll know if your crops are affected – check for marginal leaf burns and signs of interveinal chlorosis. Besides, toxicity can come through direct absorption – when the sprinklers spread it across the leaves.
You should learn which crops are more tolerant to the toxic ions and check your irrigation water composition regularly, especially because toxicity problem can worsen the water infiltration rate and cause salinity disorders.
If you’re not sure you can handle it yourself, you can always rely on the experts from the field. Whatever your choice is, just make sure you check your irrigation water regularly and your crops will be healthy and your yield rich.