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Drought rekindles farmers' interest in drip irrigation

Using drip irrigation conserves water in agriculture.
Drip irrigation isn't a new technology, but the drought in California is giving farmers greater incentive to consider installing the proven water-conserving irrigation technique, reported the Merced Sun-Star

The use of plastic emitters in drip irrigation began in 1956 on a Kibbutz in Israel, where, like California, water demand is perennially greater than supply. Drip was introduced into the United States in the early 1960s.

Sun-Star reporter Marina Gaytan spoke to Scott Stoddard, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Merced County, to get his thoughts about the trend toward drip.

“You can get water savings by using drip, but often times what you're really getting is improved water use efficiency,” Stoddard said. “You've improved your yield for the same amount of water.”

According to a farmer quoted in the story, installing a one-year surface drip system costs about $400 per acre. Some farmers are installing buried drip irrigation, which runs about $1,500 per acre but will last for many years.

Farmers welcome recent rainfall
Ventura County Star

Even though springtime rainfall can cause molds to grow in strawberries, and splashing raindrops can spread fungal and bacterial pathogens, farmers are delighted with the wet weather.

"We're going to lose some fruit, but that's a small price to pay," said Oleg Daugovish, UCCE advisor in Ventura County.

Before the rain began to fall, Daugovish advised growers to apply protective fungicides and open up plant canopies to expose the inside of the plants.

Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/02/28/3521936/farmers-looking-to-use-surface.html#storylink=cpy
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 2:03 PM
Tags: drought (171), Oleg Daugovish (4), Scott Stoddard (6)

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