Reduction of the cost of irrigation through energy efficiency and reducing water consumption ensuring the competitiveness of sugar beet in Spain.
The aim of the Operational Group is to encourage farmers to adopt innovative measures to reduce the cost of the energy bill for irrigation and optimise water consumption, to ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of the sugar beet sector, considering the disappearance of the quota system in Europe in 2017 and the end of the current PAC period in 2020.
Although a major effort has been made to modernise the old irrigation systems, many farmers continue to irrigate with underground water through deep drilling and they face energy costs up to 35% of total crop costs. These costs burden the competitiveness of the crop despite its yields outstrip other European countries.
The objectives to be achieved by the Operational Group are mainly focused on sugar beet farmers with underground water deep wells who may reduce their energy costs in irrigation by between 60 and 75%, but the results can be extrapolated to other irrigated crops where the cost of irrigation represents a high percentage of the production cost.
The main association of sugar beet producers, AIMCRA, considers the development of these protocols to be strategic and has therefore set up this Operational Group together with INEA (Escuela Universitaria de Ingeniería Agrícola de la Compañía de Jesús en Valladolid), Moval Agroingenieria, Universidad Internacional del Riego, Sociedad Cooperativa Estrella de San Juan, Recursos Naturales de Castilla y León and Encore Lab. The company Ingenieria e Innovación is the innovative agent.
During the initial phase of the creation of the Operational Group, the partners will define in detail the partial objectives to be achieved, the scope of the project and the work plan to be developed in the future Innovation project. This action has been co-financed by the National Rural Development Programme, Ministry of Agriculture and FEADER (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development).