Towards joint management of the transboundary Gauja/Koiva river basin district
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Farmers

Agricultural land in the Latvian part of the river basin occupies about 1/3 of the territory, and about 1/3 of it is arable land. Most of sown areas are used for forage crops and cereals.

Latvia and Estonia lie in the climatic zone with excessive precipitation and low evaporation, therefore usually additional watering is not needed. Irrigation is needed in very few places and during dry summer season. Furthermore, lots of lands suffer from excessive moisture, and have to be drained for agricultural needs.  About 60% of the agricultural lands in the Gauja river basin in Latvia are having drainage systems. In the Estonian part of the basin, the figure is much lower – 19%. The drainage is a controversial issue - despite much harm on the environment, deterioration of already existing drainage systems lead to flooding of fields and roads.

While elsewhere in Estonia livestock farming is increasingly converging in large farm complexes, the Koiva river basin includes mainly small scale agricultural animal and dairy farms. There are only four livestock farming buildings with over 300 livestock units of farm animals.

Although water is not deficient in Latvia and Estonia, here are some tips for water saving behaviour in agriculture:

  • Calculate irrigation water according to crop and soil type.
  • Regularly check the hose or irrigation equipment for leaks and repair if needed.
  • Don't water during the hottest hours of the day, do it in the early morning or late evening to reduce evaporation.
  • Water on calm days to prevent wind drift and evaporation.
  • Water slowly to avoid run-off and to ensure the soil absorbs the water.
  • Choose an efficient irrigation system. A soaker hose placed at the base of plants on the ground applies water to the soil where it is needed. Drip irrigation systems are highly efficient because they deliver water slowly and directly to the roots under the soil surface.

To get more information about the news, events and topics in the sector, please visit: Latvian Rural forum; Latvian Rural Network; Farmers Parliament; Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre.