The sun-worshipping watering systems driving sustainability in Spain Page Rip

22 April 2022

The sun-worshipping watering systems driving sustainability in Spain

In partnership with the Spanish research Association for sugar beet crop improvement (AIMCRA), Azucarera are supporting their LOCAL CHAMPIONS with an initiative to switch from their diesel-fuelled irrigation pumps to solar irrigation pumps and equipping them with a range of agricultural and agronomy tools and techniques.

The sun-worshipping watering systems driving sustainability in Spain
Impact: Since 2014, we have helped our growers reduce water usage by 20% and reduce their C02 footprint by saving 1,200 litres of diesel per hectare.

So, how do we do it?


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Since 2014, 120 growers have been involved in this initiative and installed 80 solar powered water irrigation pumps with a capacity of 4,800 KwH of energy. That’s enough to water 800 hectares of our sugar beet fields – that’s the equivalent of 578 football pitches! These solar powered irrigation pumps have been installed in the Castille and Leon region in Spain.

In 2021, in addition to increasing grower interest in this initiative, 25 grower irrigation workshops were held. These workshops shared the latest innovations in water and energy, including insights on photovoltaic solar energy, improving energy and water efficiency, and how irrigation tools and techniques are developing; particularly considering changing climatic conditions and the increased need to protect our natural resources, such as water. On average, 700 growers joined each workshop, driving education on agronomy practices, but also helping to raise awareness of the benefits of this initiative and knowledge amongst their peers.

Complimenting the workshops, field technicians from the Azucarera agricultural team continue to use mobile phone ‘apps’ to share personalised information to growers. The technicians are able to alert them on the best times to water their crop based on the needs of the crop and its location and climatic conditions, all based on trends they are monitoring. This provides the grower with ’real-time’ data to inform decisions in the field.

Looking ahead, we expect the demand for new irrigation technology to grow. With many growers showing an interest in having an assessment in field on using solar irrigation.

A testament to this initiative is the recognition from institutions across the world including the European Union, and from our own customers, such as Nestlé

Watch Felix del Villar, a sugar beet grower in Rueda and Elba Rosique, Managing Director of AIMCRA, talk about the impact of solar-powered irrigation on their farm productivity.

 

The sun-worshipping watering systems driving sustainability in Spain

PLAY

Elba Rosique
Managing Director
AIMCRA

Felix del Villar
Sugar beet grower

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