Technology [photo] 

Many scenarios for global climate change indicate an increase in drought and associated water shortages. For South Africa it is predicted that land surface temperatures could rise by between 1.5 and 3.0°C over the next 50 years.

Omnia Fertilizer recently held an Agronomist Conference at Hartbeespoort where several experts in the field of water addressed our agronomists. 

Measuring the total change in soil water content due to vapour losses is relatively easy. However, it is quite difficult to determine just how much water is lost directly from the soil by evaporation (E) and how much was lost from the leaf surface after plant uptake by transpiration (T). 

As a result of their sensitivity to moisture stress, more than 80% of plantings in South Africa are currently irrigated. If one considers that close to 50 000 hectares (ha) of potatoes are planted in this country, one cannot but realise that the potato industry is a major consumer of water.

Global agricultural production has to grow by an astronomical 70% average by 2050 to feed an increasing world population. Reaching this challenging goal will require an enormous effort, for various reasons.

The water use efficiency (WUE) of a grain crop is a measure of how much grain is produced by a crop for each millimetre of effective rainfall and is usually expressed as kg of grain produced per hectare per mm of rainfall (kg/ha/mm).

Conservation Agriculture (CA) is an approach to managing agro-ecosystems by reducing soil and water erosion, improve soil quality and health, increasing water infiltration to increase profits and food security while preserving and enhancing the resource base and environment.

Global demand and consumption of agricultural crops for food, feed and fuel is increasing at a rapid pace. To satisfy the growing, worldwide demand for grain, two broad options are available: (1) the area under production can be increased, or (2) productivity can be improved on existing farmland.

Many scenarios for global climate change suggest an increase in aridity and the frequency of extreme events. Drought and water scarcity are therefore considered some of the greatest limitations to crop production increases outside the present-day agricultural areas.

In today's modern farming environment, nutrient use efficiency (NUE) and water use efficiency (WUE) are seen as essential management practices.