Top Irrigation Trends to Watch for in 2022
Dec 21, 2021
As projections for population growth and food demand continue to increase and put more pressure on growers, many are looking to equip themselves with the tools, data and support to stay competitive—and ahead. To help you stay at the forefront, we’ve gathered the top irrigation trends to keep an eye on. From the continued rise of emerging technologies and sustainability initiatives to government policies that could affect your operation, let’s take a look at what the new year could hold.
1. Wireless Crop Monitoring and Control
In 2022, farmers will utilize more and more tech to monitor and control their fields. Solutions like FieldNET™ will be at the forefront, allowing you to manage your irrigation systems remotely on your smartphone, tablet or desktop. This makes it easy to control pressure, flow and water level anytime, anywhere. It also helps with sustainability and is more cost effective.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI has the potential to be a game changer in the world of agriculture. Forecasting and predictive analytics will reduce errors and minimize risk of crop failures. For example, FieldNET with WaterTrendSM uses advanced data, science and modeling technology to do just this. By utilizing forecasted rainfall amounts and crop growth models, WaterTrend provides a 7-day outlook for a specific crop’s water needs. Plus, it gives growers a better idea of general water trends in their soil to create more efficient and effective plans.
3. Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI)
This technology has been around for a while, but it’s going to see a resurgence in 2022 because of its ability to increase profitability and productivity while conserving water. Zimmatic® Precision VRI™ has been a leader on this front for years, helping growers provide precise amounts of water to each area of their fields and for each type of crop. VRI has proven to reduce overwatering, runoff and nutrient leaching.
4. Data-Informed Decision Making
These days, everything is driven by data—from the media we browse to the way we manage our fields. It’s simply more efficient, especially when it comes to pivot irrigation. FieldNET Advisor®, our award-winning irrigation management solution uses crop types, planting dates, soil maps, local weather information and irrigation history to provide recommendations on when, where and how much to irrigate your fields. All this data in one easy-to-use tool means smarter, better-informed decisions that can help maximize yield and minimize waste—not to mention greater visibility and peace of mind.
5. Water Management
Water and irrigation management that balances conservation principles with a farm’s water needs will be a big trend in farming moving forward—especially considering ever-changing weather patterns. In fact, UN-Water announced that in 2022 there will be a greater focus on understanding and spotlighting groundwater. According to their team, “groundwater provides … about 40% of water for irrigated agriculture and about 1/3 of water supply required for industry.” Growers who are early adopters of water conservation efforts will be leaders in incorporating technology that could make all the difference when it comes to sustainability and the overall health of the environment.
6. Soil Management
Going hand-in-hand with water management, soil conservation is essential for the longevity of farmland. Finding ways to mitigate erosion, maintain fertility and avoid degradation will help make sure farmland remains beneficial for the world now—and for future generations. And a smart irrigation system can go a long way in preventing oversaturation and runoff.
7. Cost Sharing
New cost sharing policies provide federal or state funding opportunities that have the potential to help growers all over the United States. Take the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service as an example. This program offers financial support for those looking to install or implement conservation practices. According to Irrigation Today, “NRCS provided $10 million to support climate-smart agriculture and forestry through targeted EQIP signup in specific states [in 2021].” Programs and support like this are only anticipated to expand in 2022, making the idea of installing a smarter irrigation system more of an affordable reality for many. And this goes a long way for everyone, beyond just the grower.
To learn more about how Zimmatic or FieldNET can help your operation, talk to your local Zimmatic dealer.