Farm Tender

Ag Tech Sunday - Why everything you think you know about Irrigation technology is wrong

Irrigation is pivotal to the global agricultural economy. Though only 16% of the world's croplands are irrigated today, those lands produce 36% of the global annual yield. In developing countries, irrigation increases yields for most crops by 100 to 400%. Further, irrigation allows farmers to reap the economic benefits of growing higher-value cash crops.


But though the impact of irrigation is impressive, we haven’t done enough to optimize the efficiency of irrigated agriculture. This report, produced in collaboration with Shane Thomas of Upstream Ag Insights, outlines several challenges preventing us from unlocking these vital outcomes, and what we can do to overcome them.


Key insights

1. Why irrigation incumbents cannot scale agtech solutions alone 

2. Three areas of tech development to date, and the limitations of each

3. Why understanding farmer psychology is the unlock code for adoption 


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“Most farmers’ irrigate based on previous experience (74%) and daily weather forecasts (23%), while only one used a soil moisture sensor. The majority had no water consumption records (74%) and only 26% used water meters. Water consumption on-farm was rarely recorded.

— The Vipava Valley Case Study