No more excuses: Bring the water balance!

Informative Letter presents four solutions to the most common situations, for which some growers do not use the automated tool that allows programming and prioritizing the risks in the cane lots.

"The water balance does not coincide with the soil moisture condition shown by the crop in the field."

01The precision of the water balance (BH) depends on highly variable hydrophysical factors in the soil, such as the quickly usable irrigation sheet (LARA).

The BH program automatically works with a LARA reference table of 176 soils from the Cauca River valley, but this does not replace the determinations made directly on the farm. For this reason, it is essential to verify the LARA at the cultivation site.
If the data does not coincide, it is recommended to determine the LARA and adjust the program with the obtained value.
The Soil Water Sheet (LAS) can also be checked and adjusted either using the gravimetric method or a volumetric soil moisture meter.
This verification and how to adjust the LAS are part of the course Prioritized water balance for scheduling irrigation in sugar cane of the training program offered by Cenicaña.

Enroll in the Cenicaña training program.

Accurate data
In determining the LARA and LAS it is essential to have accurate data. For example, the accuracy of precipitation data depends on the property's rain gauge network operating appropriately in location, number of rain gauges per hectare, and calibrated equipment.
Likewise, to determine the LARA, either in the field and laboratory or using sensors, it is essential to follow sampling protocols and the number of repetitions.
Cenicaña conducts research in this regard and can guide growers in the criteria for the use of equipment and procedures.

Contact Cenicaña's Technical Cooperation and Technology Transfer Service: Telephone: 602 5246611 ext. 5168.

"There is no internet on the farm."

02 Having internet service is essential for the operation of the latest version of the water balance program (4.0), but DO NOT It is essential for version 3.0, still available for growers in Cenicaña.
Version 4.0 of the BH offers some advantages over version 3.0, such as automatically including evaporation data from the Automated Meteorological Network (RMA), working with effective precipitation, generating reports in graphs and maps and sending e-mail informing the BH status in luck, among others.
Therefore, consider the option of having internet service on your farm to use this and other tools developed by Cenicaña.

Contact Cenicaña's Technical Cooperation and Technology Transfer Service: Telephone: 602 5246611 ext. 5168.

"There is no water available for irrigation when the water balance reports it."

03To have water at the time of watering you need to do a correct planning of it. For this, it is essential to calculate the difference between the amount of water available on the farm and the amount required for cultivation. This calculation is known as the hydrological balance and is different from the water balance.

The hydrological balance achieves:

  • Determine the water losses in the driving from the source to the application site and identify alternatives to reduce them.
  • Determine and measure if more water is being applied in the fate than required and identify alternatives to improve the irrigation efficiency.
  • Identify if an expansion of the water concession is required.

Agro-industry has professionals to calculate supply and demand in production units. Contact them.

Contact the mill for assistance and information.

"I don't know how to manage the water balance program."

04 There are two alternatives to learn how to manage the prioritized water balance version 4.0:

1. Cenicaña, through the Apprenticeship and Technical Assistance Program (PAT), has trained mill staff as facilitators for the adoption of the prioritized water balance (BH) program version 4.0. These facilitators are able to offer support to growers and stewards for the implementation of the program on the farms.

Contact the mill for assistance and information.

2. The BH is one of the technologies in which Cenicaña is currently offering training courses aimed at suppliers, butlers and farm contractors, among others.
The trainings comprise theoretical and practical activities, and are based on the experiences of the same attendees to clarify concepts and data management.
In the course, in addition to teaching the use of the computer program, the calculation of LARA, LAS, the determination of factors such as field capacity, permanent wilting point, apparent density, and the capture of precipitation and evaporation data are explained.

Enroll in the Cenicaña training program.

Research progress *

In order to improve the precision of the water balance program and have more criteria for making decisions related to irrigation, Cenicaña continues its research with a site-specific agriculture (AEPS) approach:

    • The construction of a database of the most representative physical and hydraulic properties of the soils of the Cauca river valley is progressing (12 consociations until May 2017), to expand knowledge about the factors that influence the movement of water in soils .
    • In experiments with the variety CC 93-4418 it was determined that between 135 and 170 days after the emergence of the plants the maximum rate of water extraction occurs, which corresponds to the rate of maximum growth reported for cultivation in the conditions of the Cauca river valley.
    • In trials with varieties CC 93-4418 and CC 01-678 it was determined that the highest cane production is obtained when the plant has to make a lower energy expenditure to extract water from the soil. In addition, humidity ranges were established in which the plant can be affected by excess or deficit.

* The information corresponds to experiments in progress.

Information letter
Year 5 / Number 1 / August 2017

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