Tag Archives: irrigation

Still places on RPA/EA workshop on reservoir grants

The UK Irrigation Association has highlighted that there are still places on the next joint RPA and EA workshop on capital grants for irrigation reservoirs, which will be held in Hereford on October 18.

The Water Resource Management capital grants are worth up to 40 per cent of the cost towards construction of an irrigation reservoir and are available for arable and horticultural businesses.  The grants are designed to improve farm productivity through more efficient use of water for irrigation, and to secure water supplies for crop irrigation by constructing on-farm reservoirs and related systems, and the deadline for new grant applications is 3 April 2018.

The workshop will explain the grants and how to apply, covering the level of grant available, project eligibility and issues around abstraction licence application. To book, or for more information, please email CPEnquiries@rpa.gsi.gov.uk. The timing and venue details will be provided upon booking. More details can be found in the handbook available here.

Photo Credit: gov.uk

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Dry weather causing concerns

The NFU, UK Irrigation Association and others have warned that farming must receive its fair share of water if the country experiences a drought this summer.

According to reports, after one of the driest winters in 20 years, more than four-fifths of the country’s rivers have fallen to abnormally low levels and there are growing concerns about the potential impact of dry weather on farmers and growers.

NFU Vice President Guy Smith said, “The situation is patchy with farmers, particularly in the South and East, reporting as low as 10% of their expected March and April rainfall. While decent rains in May and June will put many crops back on track, some crops like spring barley have clearly already lost their full potential. Some farmers and growers are looking at the ‘changeable’ forecast for the end of this week hoping it brings much needed rain.

“We are growing increasingly concerned about the fruit and vegetable sector, but reservoirs are full and abstracted water sources are still available, albeit at lower than normal levels. Water transfer operations for irrigation in the Stour Marsh and Romney catchment area in Kent started six weeks earlier than usual, so we are expecting early demand for water from soft fruit growers.”

Melvyn Kay, Executive Secretary of the UKIA commented that some of the press coverage appeared alarmist, but added, “UKIA will be meeting with the Environment Agency, other members of the Water for Food Group next week to be briefed on the situation.”

The post Dry weather causing concerns appeared first on Hort News on Thurs 11 May.

NFU meets Defra to discuss trickle irrigation

An NFU delegation from the key intensive horticultural areas in England met with Defra officials within days of the launch of a new consultation on abstraction licensing.

A Defra consultation ‘Changes to water abstraction licensing exemptions’, was published on 15 January. The deadline for responses is 8 April.

David Long, Kent soft and top fruit grower and a member of the NFU Horticulture Board said that to continue to flourish, growers need secure access to water to grow fruit, and labour to harvest it.

Paul Hammett, NFU water resources specialist, said that growers at the Defra meeting were promised a ‘light touch and risk based approach’ to the future licensing of trickle irrigation. Arguably the most contentious of the Defra proposals is that the Environment Agency will have powers to apply environmental constraints to protect the environment by applying abstraction restrictions at low flows or during drought conditions.

Marion Regan who represents the soft fruit sector at AHDB Horticulture pointed to the recent shift to the use of coir-type substrates which have little or no water holding capacity: “Modern growing methods mean that water shortages cannot be tolerated, even over short periods of time. Restrictions in water availability would have a major impact on crop growth and business profitability and so provision must be made to accommodate protected crop production in the new licensing regime”, she said.

Photo Credit: East Malling Trust

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Cloth filtration unit for irrigation water

QEP Holland has announced a series of cloth filter units, made by Canadian company Zwart Systems, which filter various types of contaminated fluid in zero run off systems.

The system features a non-pressurized system which the company claims is economical, eco-friendly and easy to operate. The contaminated liquid flows through the filter fabric supported by a conveyor belt. When the filtered contaminants minimize the liquid flow, the rising liquid level actuates a float switch that runs the conveyor gear motor. The used fabric is automatically discharged in a waste bin and can be disposed of in an eco-friendly way. The cloth filtration system provides a highly efficient and reliable way of removing solids from process liquids. It features a non pressurized system which is economical and easy to operate.

QEP Holland is the only outlet outside North-America that supplies the cloth filtration system straight from the source.

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Irrigating crops with sea water

Spain’s Aqua Maris Foundation, which describes its purpose as investigating the therapeutic properties and potential uses of sea water, has published a study suggesting that sea water can be used to maintain water levels for crops.

According to reports, the researchers considered two approaches. The first was to create a water table using sea water and the second is to develop salt-tolerant plants.

Focusing on the latter, the Foundation has maintained a garden since 2006 using the principles of irrigation using groundwater. “We still have much to learn and test, but we have already got rid of the myth that sea water kills plants. The important thing is to learn how to use it and become familiar to how it works for different types of soil,” say the researchers.

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New irrigation guide for potatoes

The Potato Council has produced a new guide to early season potato irrigation to accompany its existing guidance document.

Potato Council data suggests 55% of growers have irrigation equipment and 40% of the total potato crop is grown on land with short term tenancies. However, by changing management practices and having a long term strategy for water use the recent problems of scarcity flooding and poor water quality could be alleviated.

According to the Council, “Growers recognise the importance of water and how valuable a resource it is. However, as demand for water increases, it is increasingly necessary to justify need and provide evidence of efficient use, both for environmental protection and to meet crop protocol requirements.”

The new guide also considers the effect of irrigation on disease and common scab development. It can be downloaded from the Potato Council website.

This post first appeared on HortNews.