Importance of Irrigation and Water Management with James Adkins

On October third, the AGRI 130 students had the opportunity to learn about irrigation and water management with James Adkins, an irrigation engineer for the University of Delaware. During the lecture, the students learned about the different methods and technologies of irrigation. Each irrigation method has different downfalls and benefits, depending on the soil quality, incline of the land, and other individual factors. It was interesting to learn how irrigation systems have gone from furrow irrigation, which is digging out areas on inclined land to run water through, to center pivot irrigation, which is a technology that distributes water above the crops in a circular fashion. Technological advances have allowed agriculturalists who irrigate to conserve water and reap twice the crop yield of a traditional farm. Current issues have shown that responsible water management is the key to feeding the growing world population. Field research has enabled agriculturalists to develop and improve irrigation methods. Current advances include crop mapping systems, electronic data collection based on irrigation, and the development of drones for mapping.  The eastern half of US crops receive more water than what is required for growth whereas the western half of US crops receive the minimum amount of water for survival. This is due to the amount of rainfall that occurs on the two halves of the US. The difference in rainfall in the US has caused changes in the methodology of irrigation based on a farm’s individual needs. Thank you to James Adkins for teaching AGRI 130 students about irrigation.

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