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There are many effects of evaporation on agriculture. While plants need water to grow properly, water is often a scarce resource in many agricultural areas. This scarcity leads to many problems for farmers as well as other users in the same area that need water. By reducing the effects of evaporation, farmers can better utilize the water from rainfall and other natural sources and use less water while irrigating agricultural crops.
As water is a costly resource in many agricultural areas, one effect of evaporation is an increase in the cost of growing agricultural crops. Not only must farmers pay to acquire water to irrigate crops, but they must also purchase expensive irrigating equipment that uses diesel or other fuel to pump the water to the crops. This diesel use increases the cost of operating the farm and increases pollution. Though there are ways to reduce evaporation, it is not possible to completely stop the loss of water from evaporation.
Evaporation causes the upper levels of soil to become dry and hard. When rain or irrigation water then falls onto the soil, a significant portion of the water runs off of the soil instead of soaking into the ground. When the ground is too dry, plants may fail to grow, and the soil is more susceptible to wind erosion. One solution to this problem is conservation tillage. In this process, some of the natural vegetation on the ground remains after tilling the soil. This vegetation provides a number of positive effects, including allowing rain or irrigation water to penetrate into the soil and reducing the amount of water that evaporates from the soil.
Moisture evaporation causes problems for agricultural crops. It is important for farmers to properly manage the irrigation of plants as both too little and too much water may harm the plants. Crops that are not property watered, either receiving too much or too little water, are more prone to disease, rot and other problems. Also, plants that lack water are often not healthy enough to fully utilize water when it is available. It is critical that farmers keep their plants properly watered, from planting through harvest.
Using Scientific Farming Methods
Though evaporation is a natural process, managing crops, soil and water use to balance the need for agricultural production with the various demands on water sources is an important aspect of agriculture. Various branches of science work to study the rate of evaporation in agricultural fields and the ways to reduce it. Farmers must work with local agricultural offices, researchers and others in order to develop the most effective methods for growing plants. This may require the farmer to change planting and harvesting methods, better monitor and manage irrigation methods, or even change the crops grown.
Jay Motes is a writer who sold his first article in 1998. Motes has written for numerous print and online publications including "The Dollar Stretcher" and "WV Sportsman." He holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in history and political science form Fairmont State College in Fairmont, W.V.
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