Profitable Practices: Irrigation management with Dave Bishop

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

There are so many things that can’t be controlled on the farm, including when Mother Nature decides to provide some moisture.

Irrigation provides more control over the moisture situation — however, the water is not limitless.

Maximizing the water allowance not only makes growers happy, because it allows them to become more profitable, but it makes the environment happy as well, as the plants get the water they need, when they need it.

For this episode of Profitable Practices, we head to Barons, Alta., to see how Dave Bishop, of D & M Bishop Farms, uses irrigation to maximize water efficiency for the operation — and what irrigation has brought back to the business and the land.

Through the use of irrigation, Bishop has been able to widen his crop rotations, look at a different ways of getting nutrients to his crops, get into seed production, and more. Not only have the management techniques evolved, but the technology surrounding pivots — such as variable rate irrigation, moisture sensors, and high efficiency nozzles, just to name a few — are constantly changing, too.

“We have pressurized pipeline here. The [Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District] is probably the most efficient irrigation district in the world, to be honest. The only way you can get more efficient is if we had underground drip irrigation. So we have low pressure irrigation and pressurized pipeline. So whatever is in there, we use. It doesn’t go out the other end, so we’re not losing water,” Bishop explains.

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