Minimizing agricultural water use while maintaining or improving the economic productivity of the agricultural sector is a major challenge in arid and semiarid regions. Irrigated agriculture is the major consumer of freshwater supplies in many parts of the world, particularly in relatively arid and semi-arid regions like Jordan as well as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. That's why a team of researchers looked into 'water use efficiency and chemical composition of different forage crops under hydroponic conditions.'
The demand for scarce water resources in these countries is increasing with time for both agricultural and non-agricultural purposes. Increasing water scarcity due to frequent drought and declining land availability for farming and shortages in food supplies for livestock have been experienced in GCC countries as well as many other countries.
"Many projects to produce forages have been established during the last two decades to cover some green and dry forage needs in these countries. However, scarcity of adequate fresh water supply might pose challenges for sustainability of the field projects especially with utilizing ground water for irrigation, which is consumed in large amounts as these countries are characterized with very high rates of evapotranspiration and soils of low capacity to retain water," they explain.
Therefore, methods and technologies that can contributes to improved water use efficiency and productivity merit closer consideration like hydroponic technique.
From their research they conclude that hydroponic technique can be used for green fodder production of many forage crops in a hygienic environment free of chemicals like insecticide, herbicide and artificial growth promoters. It is a well-known technique for high fodder yield, year-round production and least water consumption.
Mahale, Dipali & Dhage, S & Gaikwad, Ulhas & Kandalkar, Y & Pune, Khadki & Rahuri, M. (2021). Water Use Efficiency and Chemical Composition of Different Forage Crops Under Hydroponic Condition. 13(13). 1003-1012.