Common Issues Facing Irrigation Systems for Farms

Insights from Experienced Irrigation Professionals in Ontario

Effective crop irrigation is all about the right amount of water, at the right time, for a suitable duration, and with the right distribution system. While there is a significant dependence on the weather conditions and availability of reliable and abundant water sources for your farm, the two other critical factors are: 

The irrigation and water management (IWM) experts at Vanden Bussche Irrigation explain typical challenges in agricultural irrigation.


Top Irrigation Concerns for Ontario Farmers

Some of the most common issues that can come in the way of agricultural farm irrigation are: 

  • Shortage of ground or surface water
  • Irrigation restrictions
  • Poor quality of water

In Ontario, the Ontario Permit To Take Water (PTTW) program regulates the taking and using of water by municipalities and industries across the province, ensuring that agricultural farms get priority water access. As per the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), nearly 63% of the issued PTTW permits are for agricultural purposes to secure crop growth and the financial future of farmers across the province. Despite this program, there are other irrigation challenges that Ontario farmers may have to deal with. 


The top irrigation concerns facing farmers are:

Soil Displacement: Most irrigation systems, whether it is sprinklers, drip irrigation, or surface irrigation methods, are based on the premise of equitable distribution of water over the soil. However, water erosion can cause soil displacement, which can clog the streams or drainage ditches and harm aquatic habitats. Extensive soil displacement may also lead to foul waters for recreational activities, leading to an increased need for water treatments.

Soil Salinization: A significant threat to environmental resources and human health, soil salinization: 

  • Impacts the physicochemical properties of the soil
  • Creates an ecological imbalance of the area
  • Promotes bacterial growth and leads to a drop in crop productivity 

While certain soil types may already have high salt levels, the overall process of plants consuming water (evapotranspiration) may also leave additional salt residue in the soil. Moreover, suppose the irrigation water causes the salts or organic materials to move downward through the soil (leaching). In that case, it could impact other properties downstream, or the salts may appear elsewhere in the hydraulic cycle.

Drainage: Safely removing excess water from the fields is critical for ensuring higher crop yields while also reducing soil compaction and rutting. Farms or rural properties that do not have sufficient drains can lean on the specific drainage provisions available in Ontario. Not only can you petition the local municipalities for adding drains on your property, but you could also get fixed-rate loans for this purpose as per the Drainage Act.

Irrigation System Scheduling: Most importantly, the irrigation systems on agricultural farms need careful design, installation, monitoring, and maintenance. Any inconsistencies with timing, frequency, or duration of the watering can lead to issues, such as overwatering, underwatering, wastage of water and energy, and poor crop quality. 

Experienced irrigation management professionals can help agricultural farm owners with a broad spectrum of irrigation solutions to minimize crop loss and maximize yield and profitability. 

Top-Notch Irrigation Solutions and Farm Equipment by            Vanden Bussche

At Vanden Bussche Irrigation, we specialize in agricultural irrigation systems and solutions for farms, fields and orchards throughout Ontario. Our qualified irrigation experts provide customized designing, planning, and installation for an extensive range of irrigation systems, including the Rain Bird sprinkler system, Netafim drip irrigation, pivot irrigation, and more. 

We also offer a complete suite of irrigation products, serving the needs of Ontario’s agricultural farms.

Talk to us about your irrigation needs and challenges and let us help you. Call one of our convenient locations in Ontario or contact us online.