Know How / Irrigation

Our irrigation page offers advice on how manage water requirements for potato and horticultural crops and also safeguard the environment. Find out more about drip irrigation versus rain guns, methods to cut water wastage and how to control irrigation costs while maintaining yields.

Advice and tips

IRRIGATION

Why potato growers need to be better prepared for drought

Farmers and growers are being urged to plan and manage their use of irrigation this year, as concerns about the effect of continued dry conditions on water supplies mount. The…

DISEASE MANAGEMENT

How the potato industry can tackle blackleg

Blackleg is a costly disease in potatoes caused by several pectolytic bacteria that have the ability to infect and break down plant tissue, leading to storage losses and crop rejections.…

ARABLE

Irrigation efficiency advice for potato growers

Making efficient use of water this season is likely to become even more crucial for potato growers, with some having already used precious resources irrigating other crops. Water supplies are…

ARABLE

Switching to electricity could cut irrigation costs

Using electricity rather than diesel to power irrigation pumps could cut energy bills in half. Hose reels remain the most popular way of irrigating crops and are used on about…

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Case studies

POTATOES

Drip irrigating potatoes promises more crop per drop

Potato growers could get 15% more yield and cut water usage by the same percentage by switching from rain guns to drip irrigation, according to on-farm trial results. That’s what…

ARABLE

Work under way to slash water wastage in potato fields

Tramline compaction is causing potato growers to waste up to 14% of the water falling on their fields, and also risks nutrient and spray pollution into the environment. Water flowing…

ARABLE

Irrigation investment helps salad potato business thrive

Like pouring water on to an expanding sponge, significant investment in its irrigation network has seen impressive growth for OW Wortley & Sons’ Nofolk-based potato enterprise. At peak flow the…

NEWS

Water trading spreads cost of securing irrigation supplies

The increasingly unpredictable weather in the UK has highlighted the importance of having access to sufficient water at all times of the growing season. The obvious answer is to invest…

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Insights

POTATOES

Video: Cultivating potato tramlines cuts run-off

Potato growers could slash water use and preserve soils by using a machine to stop water flowing down compacted tramlines. A trial conducted at the Elveden Estate last season as…

ARABLE

All you need to know about water abstraction licence reform

There is a misconception that water is everywhere in the UK, but it is fast becoming a scarce resource with an uncertain future. With an increasing population comes more mouths…

ARABLE

Fruit irrigation work shows potato potential

Research on irrigating strawberries with less water could translate to spuds. As drought threatens to curtail irrigation in many parts of the country, research in Kent – originally on strawberries – suggests…

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News

IRRIGATION

Farmers’ irrigation worries mount on back of EA predictions

Farmers could see tougher irrigation restrictions this summer, following the release of new Environment Agency (EA) data. The updated “Prospects for irrigation” forecast comes as bad news for many growers,…

WEATHER

Restrictions on water as drought fears mount

Water restrictions are being imposed on farmers amid mounting concerns over a lack of significant rain and low river flows. Cumulative rainfall totals for April range from about 18% of…

IRRIGATION

Drought measures increasingly likely, farmers warned

Summer drought measures are increasingly likely in 2019 if dry weather persists, the NFU has warned. This follows initial results from an NFU survey, which suggests that one-third of farmers…

IRRIGATION

Farmers 'must have access to fair share of water'

Government plans to stop compensating farmers for reducing or revoking water abstraction licences are unjustified, rural business leaders have warned. In a response to a Defra consultation, the Country Land…

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Video

POTATOES

Video: Potato planting races ahead in the Suffolk sunshine

Potato planting kicked off this week on one large Suffolk Breckland estate, with high hopes for the early-maturing crop after it went into the ground in ideal conditions. The light…

POTATOES

Video: Cultivating potato tramlines cuts run-off

Potato growers could slash water use and preserve soils by using a machine to stop water flowing down compacted tramlines. A trial conducted at the Elveden Estate last season as…

INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE

Variable rate irrigation cuts costs for NZ grower

Irrigation systems that allow each nozzle to apply variable rates of water according to soil type and moisture deficit are improving New Zealand farmers’ water use efficiency. Irrigation is central…

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