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‘Water efficiency crucial during prolonged dry summers’

Identifying hotspots and increased use of drip-feed irrigation equipment will be key to increased grower efficiency in the UK, minimising the toll on domestic water supply, and stopping the potential introduction of abstraction reforms, an expert has claimed.

According to an article published by UK based trade magazine Potato Review, more than 50% of potatoes produced in the UK are irrigated, and in recent years the country has experienced reduced water availability and increased demand as a result of the hotter, drier summers, which are set to stay for the future. With domestic sectors taking precedence, there are growing concerns over water allocations for irrigating crops.

Dr Jodie Rettino, Catchment and Biodiversity Lead at Severn Trent, says that while water is the most important resource for agriculture and vital for national food security, over-abstraction issues and other water use demands are increasing. Growers therefore need to look at ways to maximise efficiency when it comes to irrigation.

“Previous warm summers have showcased the importance of keeping potato crops well hydrated, but with 68% of irrigation on field crops occurring between June and August, we need to look at ways to maximise efficiencies to reduce water demand during these peak months,” she said.

“There’s no doubt that potatoes perform better from an agronomic and economic point of view when irrigated, and restrictions on this are likely to pose a challenge for producers.”

Source: Potato Review. Read the full article here

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