Maximising the use of irrigation water and minimising losses from evaporation, using a water conservation agent, will deliver cost and UK-wide cropping benefits as the summer heatwave continues.
Richard Collins, ICL technical sales manager, explains that giving water the chance to penetrate more rapidly into the soil, not only reduces wastage via evaporation, but also encourages healthy root development.
“Both root crops and potatoes have benefited from conserving up to 25% of irrigation water, where water conservation agent H2Flo has been applied, saving significant water and pumping costs,” he says.
He highlights that supporting trials from Aberystwyth University show that the use of the product can significantly reduce soil surface evaporation, due to a 30% reduction in surface pooling.
Lancashire based farmer, Robin Cropper, is always looking for ways to maximise land use, so consulted our agronomist, John Cairns, from ProCam, to trial the product to improve potato yields.
“We don’t have the infrastructure to irrigate our crops, and while we often receive a high level of rainfall, dryer spells can become problematic for us,” he explains.
“So, to make the most of the rainwater we do receive in the summer months, we applied H2Flo to an early field of Accord, just before emergence, in both small trial plots and commercial scale crops.
“The results were impressive. The treated plots showed an average yield increase of 18% with a greater proportion of large tubers. The field areas were also compared at harvest, and the treated crop showed an increase of 6.7t/ha,” says Robin.
Richard adds that the success of H2Flo is down to the surfactants in the product that break down the surface tension in the water, and allow improved moisture distribution and retention in the soil.