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Emater gives tips to farmers to reduce water consumption by up to 50%

In the face of criticism passed on agribusiness as a major responsible for the waste of water during this water crisis, the Enterprise Technical Assistance and Rural Extension of the State of Minas Gerais (Emater-MG) is advising producers on methods that reduce by 50 % water consumption.

According to the agency, in Brazil irrigated agriculture occupies 6.7% of the planted area and accounts for 20% of food production. Only in our state there are 600 000 hectares of crops that use irrigation. Diate these figures, the State Technical coordinator of Irrigation and Water Resources Emater-MG, João Carlos Guimarães said that the correct management of irrigation is essential for water abstraction is really necessary for each crop.

For this, the first step is to obtain accurate information about the climate and soil of each region, which would help in time to set the amount and the exact time to irrigate. If planting is far from a weather station, the purchase of an automated weather station by a group of farmers can also be a good solution.

Another alternative is appointed by Emater the soil sensor device that informs the moisture content retained by the soil. This equipment makes it possible to reduce by 20% the amount of water used.

The company also gives tips on the use of appropriate irrigation systems for each type of crop. “Localized irrigation is the most economical. It is indicated in the areas of production of vegetables, fruit and coffee, “explains João Carlos. The localized irrigation drip can be either by micro like, which are made close to the feet of the plants and applying water in small amounts.

In the dripping, the water is provided by means of hoses with small holes that are spaced by plowing along the rows of plants. With this method, according to the coordinator, the savings can reach up to 50% compared to conventional methods. Since the use of microsprinklers reduces the amount of water used between 25% and 30%.

But when the crop requires use of the sprinkler system – planting grains, for example – the recommendation is to use equipment such as low precipitation sprinklers, which help to control the flow and allow the irrigation occurs more close to the ground, which reduces the water dispersion by wind and evaporation.

Agriculture in the State

Also according to Emater in Minas Gerais most irrigated areas are in the Triangulo Mineiro, Alto Paranaiba and Northwest, with beans and coffee crops. In the North of Minas Gerais, there is the production of fruits and vegetables, especially in Jaíba and Gorutuba projects where localized irrigation (drip and micro sprinkler) is the most used.

In the south of Minas Gerais, strawberry production is drip irrigated. In the surrounding municipalities of Belo Horizonte, there is a large production of vegetables. Good farmers use localized irrigation. The irrigated areas require grant (permission) for use of water. In the case of Minas Gerais, it is granted by the Secretary of State for the Environment. If the water used is a river area of the Union, the grant is awarded by the National Water Agency (ANA).

João Carlos highlights the importance of irrigation for food supply and increased productivity in agriculture. “With irrigation it is possible to produce more in the same area, avoiding deforestation and the opening of new production fronts”, he says.

He also noted that much of the water used to irrigate crops returns to the environment, since that amount is absorbed by the plant, another evaporates becoming rain later and the rest infiltrates the soil and returns to the water table. “In some cultures, the water retention is very low. The grains consumed, for example, have only 3% moisture. Namely, the majority returns to the environment.”

Source: Emater
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