Greater efficiency in corn production
Agricultural input costs, water scarcity and climate changes are constantly compelling corn growers to reassess their current production techniques while facing new challenges every day. The use of supplementing technologies to improve crop and fruit harvesting, are no longer considered alternatives, but rather requirements.
Mario Ruiz, plant manager of Monsanto’s Villagran plant, where corn seed is processed, explains: “Corn production is indeed a great challenge… controlled systems have become extremely important because water resources are shrinking, due to climate change. Furthermore, Mexico’s currency is currently depreciated and commodity prices are low.”
Today, more than ever, being a successful food grower requires investing in the right technology that will help paying for the production costs in the short term (growing more with less resources), and will allow you to grow sustainably in the long term, ensuring product profitability.
A Crop-Protecting Irrigation System
For instance, at Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico, in the region known as “El Bajio” (low-lands), between 100 and 110 corn hectares irrigated with Rivulis drip irrigation system were recently affected by hail. Fortunately, hail didn’t do much harm, due to the growth stage and the care given to the crop throughout the growing season.
Benjamín Lupercio Díaz, Monsanto’s Field Supervisor in “El Bajio” region explains how the drip irrigation system improved their crop management practices during the whole crop season: “Having drip irrigation and watering with the right volume allows us to use our field machinery at any time. We don’t have to deal with all the obstacles of our old gravity irrigation system, like water logging for instance, which made the use of field machinery impossible; even four-wheel machines got stuck under such conditions.” Lupercio added that another advantage of using Rivulis drip irrigation system is that they can implement pest control systems and perform cultural practices like de-tasseling easily: “This system allows us to prune with our machinery and spray whenever we want.”
Lupercio Díaz says that thanks to the supplementary compatibility of Rivulis drip irrigation system with the rest of the field machinery, the crop is pretty homogenous. “The system enables us to use our machinery, which is crucial to be cost-efficient. Rivulis drip irrigation system has helped us to obtain the best results ever.”
Rivulis Stands by the Growers
Mario Ruiz explains: “Monsanto wants to be at the cutting edge, and drip irrigation is one of the leading technologies because it saves water, a very scarce resource, and also gives higher yields, due to the efficient delivery of water and fertilizers.”
However, even if drip irrigation has short and long term returns on investment, the system’s performance depends on the right implementation and requires a change in the business culture.
“Getting to know the system is a challenge,” adds Francisco Belmares, Monsanto’s Field Coordinator. “[Rivulis] has given us training in soil water measurements and fertilization, while also always being available for us.”
Rivulis does not only supply the irrigation system, but also excels in terms of follow-up and in the reliable support given to customers by experts, who are widely concerned about customer satisfaction and high performance. Thanks to Rivulis team’s timely support, growers can deliver water with high accuracy which in turn is translated into higher crop quality.
“Rivulis team is always standing by us. Since this technology is new to us, we need their support to manage our crops in the best way,” says Díaz.
Irrigation that promotes greater sustainability
By definition, sustainability is the process of protecting the environment, taking in mind the natural resources, employing strategies that do not exhaust these resources, and promoting the natural balance required in the long term. With that in mind, the concept of sustainability is closely tied to the efficient use of water.
By nature, drip irrigation is a perfect example of a system that makes efficient use of inputs without waste. This system allows growers and agribusinesses to satisfy their demands in harmony with the environment.
However, in order to install a drip irrigation system properly for your crops, it is necessary to understand the current situation of natural resources. A water and soil analysis are indispensable, since these dictate the needs of inputs that will be used before the system is operable for growing. The best intake of nutrients is made possible when the grower applies only the necessary nutrients, in the correct amount, and through a drip irrigation system.
“It’s essential to have a water analysis to then evaluate how to better use fertilizers and fine tune the fertigation system,” explains Francisco Belmares, field coordinator for Monsanto. “We have a commitment to having a more efficient use of water. We hope that by the year 2020 we will have more drip irrigation systems.”
Mario Ruiz, Villagrán plant manager for Monsanto, has spent 23 years working in the industry. He emphasized the industry’s need to commit to sustainability, which will assure the security of natural resources in the long term.
“We have a mandate to achieve greater water use efficiency. Our goal is that in ten years we will reach a 30% more efficient water use on a global scale. Adopting drip irrigation systems in Mexico will help us meet this objective.”
Proper Implementation of the Irrigation System
Considering the challenges imposed by climate change, the increased demand of food and the expectations of better growing systems that conserve our natural resources, adopting drip irrigation makes sense. However, such success depends on proper implementation.
“We hope that in our drip irrigation supplier, through good support and proper training, we’ll be able to have optimal efficiency within the system,” comments Ruiz. The support of Rivulis has made possible levels of optimal performance at Monsanto’s fields.
“It’s not until growers incorporate the drip technology that they’ll realize its benefits – not only in the yield increase but also in reduced production costs. Also the water savings are an important facet from an ecological standpoint,” comments Ruiz, who also praised Rivulis’ training for helping the production team to familiarize themselves and manage the system, allowing the business to exceed its main production goals.
Benjamin Lupercio Diaz, field supervisor for Monsanto in the central Mexican Bajio region, adds that the use of the drip irrigation system has drastically improved his results. “It is an exceptional advantage; as a company we feel that Rivulis’ coordination with its clients is very diligent. Their technical support has helped guarantee that there are no issues. Every time we have needed a consultation or technical advice they have been here for us. We have no deficiencies in our process,” assured Diaz.
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