We brought in a guest writer this week for the article on organic irrigation. The writer’s name is Matt Highsmith and he has a lot of experience in installing and repairing irrigation systems in the farms of Oxnard, CA. He’s owner and operator of Highsmith & Daughters Plumbing Inc. located in Simi Valley, CA. Thanks Matt for taking some time to explain organic irrigation to our readers…
Setting up an irrigation system is one of the biggest challenges organic farmers face. One has to think through the irrigation design system to use, how to install it and most importantly, how much it will cost. Having the right knowledge about irrigation systems is the first step to ensuring your organic farming project turns out to be a success.
So, here are things you need to know about irrigation systems employed in organic farming:
What Is The Essence Of Having An Irrigation System In An Organic Farm?
Irrigation is basically meant to supply water to crops in a farmland so as to aid crop growth. Sometimes plant nutrients may also be applied via irrigation. In organic farming, irrigation systems are mainly used for purposes of conservation and crop sustainability, especially during the dry season(s). Irrigation generally ensures high-quality crop yields and smooth transition into another planting season.
What Options Are Available For Organic Irrigation?
There are several irrigation methods that farmers can use in any type of farming but there are those that are specially designed for organic farming. However, the methods differ largely depending on the climate and the type of crops being grown.
Here are the main irrigation design systems you can choose from, as an organic farmer:
– Drip Irrigation:
This form of irrigation conveys water to crop roots via low-pressure pumps, installed either at the ground level or underground. Drip irrigation has the potential to save water, especially in the dry season, since it allows water to drip slowly to the plant roots.
-Surface irrigation: This method does not require the use of pumps. It actually uses gravity to move water across the land that’s on a downhill. The fact that this form of irrigation uses less energy to deliver water makes it one of the best options for organic farming.
-Center-Pivot Irrigation: With this type of irrigation design system, water flows from a series of sprinklers set up on wheeled towers. Center-pivot irrigation uses pumps to operate. The method is mostly used on flat, large-scale farms and is capable if irrigating up to a 130-acre farm area.
-Manual Irrigation: This method of irrigation, which is only practical in small-scale farms, involves someone physically watering each plant in the farm or greenhouse by hand. With manual irrigation, a farmer may use a bucket or watering can to water the plants. The method is commonly used in backyard farms.
So, Which Is The Best Irrigation Method For Organic Farming?
Well, each of the methods discussed above has its own merits and demerits. It all comes down to your organic farm size and needs as well as your irrigation budget. Otherwise, all the methods can work as effectively as they should on your farm. If you are planning to farm during the rainy season, then there’s no need to set up an irrigation system. You can simply let the rain take care of all your irrigation needs.
Why the Water Source Matters In Organic Farming Irrigation
As an organic farmer seeking to water plants, especially during the dry season, it would be important to consider where you are going to draw water from. You can use water from an onsite-well, rainwater collection or from the local municipal water source. The source of the water, regardless of the one you prefer, should always remain pure and unpolluted. The use of polluted water-even for a short period of time might end up contaminating the crops, something that’s purely against your organic farming goals.
Today, people are now interested in becoming healthy, this is because conventional foods are not healthy! To become healthy, eating organic foods is a major proponent.
What are organic foods? Organic foods are the ones that were grown without the use of pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, sewage sludge-based fertilizers, and bioengineered genes. You may have asked whether organic foods only talks about plant-based foods, but no, livestock is included. However, they should also be grown organically, they must have an access to the outdoors and should be fed with organic feeds.
By the method of how the food is cultivated, it will have a major impact on your health. Conventionally-grown foods contain chemicals, fertilizers, and preservatives, while organic foods contain nutrients that are beneficial to our body. Below are the specific benefits of organic foods:
ORGANIC FOODS ARE RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
This is because organic foods were not introduced to fertilizers and other chemicals, it does not contain any toxic chemicals. Fruits and vegetables prevent the development of cancer, vision problems, premature aging, cognitive malfunction, and cancer.
ORGANIC FOODS IMPROVES CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Conjugated linoleic acid is found in livestock that was not conventionally raised. Conjugated linoleic acid is a fatty acid that is good for the heart and for boosting the cardiovascular strength.
ORGANIC FOODS CAN BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
With the organic foods, the strength of the immune system has significantly increased. It contains high vitamins and mineral content that can strengthen the immune system.
Sadly, conventionally modified or grown foods can result in health conditions.
ORGANIC FOODS ARE MORE DELICIOUS
Some might not agree on this, but most people strongly believe that organic food tastes better because of the sugar and mineral structures in organic foods.
ORGANIC FOODS ARE HIGHLY NUTRITIOUS
Any organic products have high nutritional content, they were fully grown and were provided the best natural environment as it grows.
ORGANIC FOODS PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY
With organic foods, harmful chemicals are out of the picture. Thus, there are no soil, water, and air pollution.
ORGANIC FOODS REDUCES PESTICIDE
Pesticides were used to repel bugs and pesticides on the plants or crops. The consumption of chemical pesticide is associated with cancers, weakened immune system, digestive dysfunctions, headaches, birth defects, and ADHD.
ORGANIC FOODS CAN REDUCE THE RISK OF FOOD-BORNE ILLNESSES
When you choose organic food, it does not undergo the process of concentrated animal feeding operations, where deadly drug-resistant infections were acquired by the animals. Thus, to prevent illnesses, have an organic food.
Many people today have changed to go organic, to ensure that their children and family grow up healthily. Organic foods do not contain strong chemicals,
Finally, I hope you have come to realize that organic food promotes a better overall health, as these are not processed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Let us get healthy, an organic lifestyle leads to a better life.
I bet what you have thought of is the chemicals and hormonal production, but have you thought that these could be minerals needed by our body?
Organic minerals are those minerals that cannot be easily absorbed, it needs another molecule to aid body absorption, but are absorbed better. Meanwhile, inorganic minerals can be easily dissociated and broken down by the body, but are difficult to absorb. It can irritate the stomach as it interacts with other minerals.
Organic minerals contain organic food based on acids, like citrus and amino acid. These have a higher nutritional value and a higher bioavailability. It is less reactive, thus stomach irritation is decreased.
All minerals are essential to our body, however, four of them are the key minerals—magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron.
Magnesium aids in the functions of the muscle, bone, metabolism of carbohydrates, energy production, blood glucose regulation, cardiovascular health.
Calcium aids in the functions of the bone, nerve, and muscles.
Zinc aids in immune function, reproductive health, wound healing, digestive function, and sensation.
Iron aids in tissue oxygenation, cardiovascular health, energy production and immunity.