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Smart irrigation to save drought-stricken farmers

Last year's drought gave a record-low yields, among other cereals and potatoes. to be in Sweden, but if based on the climate models is correct will be the ty

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Smart irrigation to save drought-stricken farmers

Last year's drought gave a record-low yields, among other cereals and potatoes.

to be in Sweden, but if based on the climate models is correct will be the type of extremes more common with a higher average temperature.

THE Swedish meteorological institute says in a scenario that Skåne and the västgöta plain, annually, can get 60 more days with the drought at the next c – not that it rains less, but because the growing season becomes longer and it evaporates more.

This do farmers need to prepare for.

today rely most of the Swedish farmers on rain for the crops to get the water they need. Those who have irrigation facilities are usually those who grow vegetables and root vegetables. After last year's drought took more irrigation systems.

"When we looked at the Skåne last year was the need for irrigation is the same as in Italy," says Pietro Campana, a researcher at KTH and Mälardalen university and himself an Italian.

from, among others, Nasa, the university of Maryland and the Swedish meteorological and hydrological institute developed a computer-based model that can facilitate the life of the peasants in a more torkdrabbat Sweden, at the same time that nature's resources are used efficiently.

It is, inter alia, to optimize the amount of water that is added.

the Swedish farmers are unfamiliar with the severe drought. Many do not know how much or in what way you'll water to get a good harvest without wasting (and thereby perhaps spoiling for a neighbor or for a different crop).

– They can make things worse when the waters, for they think that they should add as much water as possible, as if they were watering a golf course, " says Campana.

" But the crops need the right amount of water. Watering it more than that does not increase the harvest, so you're wasting water. In the worst case, it can be övervattna so much that the harvest is reduced.

the Possibilities to irrigate depends of course on how much groundwater there is in the nature magazine. Are the levels too low need to introduce restrictions. But the risk is less if you do not waste unnecessarily.

And you know in time that there will not be enough water for a given crop, you can control whether the output to another, torktåligare crop.

the Model is supposed to be via a web page almost in real time, provide farmers with guidelines on how to manage an ongoing drought.

the Algorithms take into account crop water needs, such as data on torkläget and the prevailing and forecasted weather conditions. But also information about energy consumption is entered. When it pumps up water requires energy.

to study the chamber of commerce and the cultivation of potatoes, which is the crop irrigated most of the country today, comparing the years 2012 and 2013. The latter was a dry odlingsår, though not as dry as 2018.

the Conclusion was that up to 50 percent of the harvest can be lost if one is not watering during a torrår. In the driest of the investigated areas of needed water equivalent to 350 millimeters of rainfall to cope with normal harvest, shows the study.

The u.s. space and weather klimatmyndigheten Nasa develop satellite data to farmers in the USA, which in many places is more accustomed to drought than in Scandinavia. In California, there is a model similar to the Campana and his team had developed.

" But what we are proposing here is more functional, with more specific data; not only for irrigation but also to calculate the skördevolym and energy consumption. Nasa also wants to upgrade itself.

the Model can be used in the whole world, but there is one fly in the ointment for the poor countries, " explains Pietro Campana: it requires powerful computers. A standard pc is not enough.

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