The productivity of our sugar-alcohol industry and its profitability are related
directly with the good use of natural resources, their protection and conservation,
especially in the production of sugar cane, the raw material of this sector in the Cauca river valley, where around 225,000 hectares are cultivated with the grass per year and 90% receive irrigation.
According to the Colombian Association of Sugar Cane Producers and Suppliers (Procaña, 2014), irrigation represents approximately 32% of the total cost of producing soca cane per hectare. Water is the most expensive input in irrigation work, since to dispose of it in the cultivation field, the farmer must extract it from the soil or collect it from a superficial channel, in some cases it must be stored and, finally, in the operation of the irrigation, must conduct, distribute and control it.
Thus, the efficient use of water is a priority issue of attention in the programs of
sustainable development of agribusiness.
With current technologies, it is estimated that it is possible to reduce up to 50% the volume of water applied in each irrigation, according to the specific conditions of the cultivation site. The recommended technologies and practices are: the water balance for irrigation scheduling; the application of the water by pulses and by alternate furrow through pipes or poly-tubular with gates; and the administrative control of irrigation during operation.
The administrative control of irrigation, CAR, is a method of quality management of the irrigation operation that must be linked to its programming according to the water balance.
The CAR evaluates irrigation efficiency with respect to three main indicators: water, time and area. The evaluation is carried out in each irrigation event, during its execution, based on the direct measurement and observation of a few variables related to the three control indicators.
Accurate and timely information about irrigation management is a key input for
save water both in the immediate event and in the following ones. The CAR indicators allow correcting the pertinent when irrigation is underway and help to identify the best practices in the cultivation site and justify specific actions for improvement in the short term in irrigation programs, training, infrastructure and agricultural operations.
This guide summarizes in four practices the procedures recommended by Cenicaña for administrative control of irrigation in the productive units of sugar cane in the valley of the Cauca River, explains the concepts related to the management indicators and their reference values.
Material produced within the framework of the Apprenticeship and Technical Assistance Program, PAT.
Cruz Valderrama, JR 2014. Administrative control of irrigation, CAR. Methodological guide. Ashtray. Cali, Colombia. 80 p. (Materials for technology transfer in the sugarcane agribusiness. Agricultural production system).