As uncertain weather patterns appear to be the one certainty in UK farming, the industry’s supply chain has increasingly been found wanting. Supplying agrochemicals on a “just in time” basis when the “time” might be tomorrow or is for just two days in two month’s time is always going to be a high risk strategy; at least without the benefit of a crystal ball - or an accurate long range weather forecast.
As rain can’t be turned on or off like a tap, irrigation “when it’s needed” is the best alternative and that means having enough of the right equipment at the right time.
“Methods of monitoring and mapping water requirements are becoming increasingly sophisticated and last year’s early drought focused attention on maximizing irrigation efficiency. Soil water monitoring and water balance modeling can help define need at each stage of the growing season but recent conditions have meant farmers don’t always know what they will be growing or where they can grow irrigated crops in that season,” observed Adrian Colwill of Briggs Irrigation.
“This means that even with the best planning, irrigation machinery may be needed at relatively short notice or perhaps late in the season. Plenty of advance notice obviously helps us gauge annual stock requirements but unlike other sectors of the supply chain we maintain significant stock levels and should be able to help."
“Our message to farmers is that we are always happy to work with them to improve efficiency, make the most of local water resources and deal with the unexpected, if practicable. We can cope with changes in seasonal demand and look forward to hearing from our customers throughout the year.”