Industry News - AM

Cargill teams up to save water in beef production

By Lisa M. Keefe on 5/28/2018

Cargill has teamed with the Nature Conservancy and Nestlé Purina to launch a three-year water project to improve the sustainability of the beef supply chain, the company and the organization said in a joint news release.

The project is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of row crop irrigation in Nebraska, as more than 50 percent of water used in U.S. beef production is dedicated to irrigating the row crops that become feed.

The Nebraska project enables farmers to install smart weather sensors in crop fields and use Internet of Things (IoT) technology on sprinklers connected to a smart phone app to better manage their water use. 

“By using smart weather sensor technology in row crop irrigation, this program could help save 2.4 billion gallons of irrigation water over three years, which is equivalent to roughly 7,200 households over that time period,” said Hannah Birge, water and agriculture program manager at The Nature Conservancy. “The reduction of pumping also means less energy used and less labor expense for farmers.”

Nebraska was selected for the project because it has the largest share of irrigated acres in the United States, and the second largest cattle population. Ultimately the information learned from the project should be applicable to other farms in other parts of the country.

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