To maintain water quality, setting up filter strips helps prevent polluted water from entering clean bodies of water around farmland. Technologies like metering help determine optimal water quantities, in turn reducing water usage and costs for water and pumping. Irrigation scheduling is another practice that helps reduce over or under-watering of crops, also leading to reduced costs. This practice, alongside metering, can lower costs while providing better yields. It is important to adjust irrigation schedules for different crops based on their watering requirements.
Using effective irrigation methods can help increase water efficiency as well. Sprinkler and drip irrigation systems are costly to install but provide long-term benefits. Low-energy precision application (LEPA) sprinkler and drip irrigation systems are more efficient than traditional irrigation methods as they attempt to water the crops at the source, minimizing water consumption.
Best Management Practices for Soil
To reduce the impacts of soil erosion, planting cover crops can enhance soil quality while improving yields. Other benefits of cover crops include weed suppression, improving soil nitrogen content, and supporting the control of disease and pests. Crop rotation is another practice that enriches soil with a variety of nutrients. Maintaining healthy riparian areas (riverbanks) has a similar effect to filter strips, which work as a filter to reduce soil erosion caused by agricultural runoff and wind.
Using some or many of these best management practices together can help reduce costs while improving crop yields, soil quality, and water quality.