The key to understanding water requirements in Texas, and getting the most efficiency with ag irrigation systems, is understanding evapotranspiration. That is important to those who grow crops and require the use of irrigation systems because efficient usage depends on understanding water requirements. When working with local agricultural irrigation system services, a thorough knowledge and understanding of this concept is essential to get the greatest crop yield using the least amount of irrigated water.
What Is Evapotranspiration?
Evapotranspiration (ET) is the total amount of water required to grow a crop. It is based on the amount of water each specific type of plant consumes, combined with any water loss through the soil. Different plants require different amounts of water for growth. When this is added to naturally occurring water loss via evaporation, the gross amount of water is that crop’s level of evapotranspiration.
What Conditions Affect Evapotranspiration?
Technically speaking, evapotranspiration is the water absorbed by plants and/or any water that evaporates from the soil. Water loss is affected by many different conditions, including soil type and consistency as well as the climate. Conditions that help retain water include lower temperatures and solar radiation on the soil, lower winds, and higher dew point humidity.
Such conditions decrease the amount of moisture removed from the soil, allowing plants to absorb it. Higher air temperatures, lower dew point humidity, higher solar radiation, and higher winds all increase evaporation of water from the soil and from plants. As a result, this increases the amount of water required for plants to grow and produce as expected. All of these conditions are especially significant in Texas that experiences high temperatures and constant windy conditions.
Why Understand Evapotranspiration?
Today’s farmers have the benefit of modern technology to help get the best yield from fields with irrigation systems without excessive water consumption that usually includes water being wasted. Calculating evapotranspiration with available programs is essential for crops to get enough water during their various growth stages. By calculating data that is already known about the different plant species, along with information regarding soil makeup and current climate conditions, farmers can more accurately determine how much water their fields require over a specified period of time. This knowledge enables them to accurately program ag irrigation systems for greatest efficiency.
Texas continues to be focused on water conservation due to ongoing drought conditions and rising crop production costs. This makes it even more essential in current agricultural operations to keep water usage and crop loss to an absolute minimum by analyzing evapotranspiration. Good management of ag irrigation systems based on climate and soil conditions is critical to provide adequate water to result in the highest crop yield while controlling water loss. Farms not currently monitoring evapotranspiration levels for strategic programming of irrigators should contact a leading agricultural irrigation system services company!