WATER, at least in the forms needed for human health, economic production and farming, is scarce and growing scarcer. Over the next 15 years, nearly 40 percent of the global population will experience severe water use challenges. While the Earth appears to be covered by water, only one-half of 1 percent of the planet’s water is actually available for use as freshwater, according to the United States Department of the Interior.
All segments of society must contribute to meeting the water challenge and agriculture will need to be a big part of the solution. Unpredictable weather and the need for increased irrigation efficiency are causing many farmers to rethink water, especially the amount they use. Rather than discussing yields solely in terms of bushels per acre, conversations are beginning to revolve around bushels per inch of available water. Syngenta, a global seed and crop protection company, believes using bushels per inch of available water as a guide will help farmers to better measure their efforts to increase water efficiency—and grow more crop per drop.
As an industry leader in water optimization—helping crops use water more efficiently—Syngenta is helping farmers rethink water and grow more from less by taking a whole-farm approach to improving water efficiency. Farmers can do this with biotech advances, crop protection technologies and integrated crop solutions that allow them to attain greater crop yields while using less water. Advances in plant breeding, for example, are helping Syngenta researchers identify and select genes that work to help plants use water more efficiently and provide season-long defense against drought.
Because water optimization is more than one genetic trait, one technology—or one company—industry partnerships will also be integral to meeting the water challenge. Water+™ Intelligent Irrigation Platform, an integrated solution for irrigated corn growers, combines market-leading agronomic products, technologies and services from Syngenta and Lindsay Corporation, a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative irrigation systems. At 75 percent irrigation, Water+ Intelligent Irrigation Platform out-yielded the standard grower program at 100 percent irrigation.*
Experts believe that rising global dietary standards, along with population growth, will require a doubling of global agriculture production by 2050. This growth must be attained with sustainable management practices, meaning water use efficiency must continue to improve. So agriculture needs to make significant changes to the way food is grown—and must rethink water.
North American Precis Syndicate