Appearances can often be deceptive; think about water productivity and you automatically want to curse the profligate almond. The fact is, alfalfa is the crop that consumes the most water in California. Often, new farmers are surprised to find out which crops consume the most water when they’re first starting out. If you’re looking to make your operations less water-intensive, then it may be time to look into operating loans for farms. You’ll also want to avoid planting crops that require vast amounts of water.


Every Crop Has Different Water Needs

Just like people, crops each have their own water needs. Meat is one of the most water-intensive agricultural products. Yet, some plants also require significant amounts of water. 


Water-Intensive Crops

Some of the most popular crops today are highly water-intensive. These crops include:

  • Rice
  • Soybeans
  • Wheat
  • Sugarcane
  • Cotton
  • Alfalfa
  • Pasture


The Profitability of the Crop

The solution, however, is not as simple as stopping farmers from cultivating these water-intensive crops. The profitability of these crops is why farmers keep growing them. 


Almonds consume nearly 10% of California’s annual water use, yet farmers continue to grow them because of their profits. Of course, operating loans for farms and other financial instruments take your profits into account when evaluating an application.


End Use

Alfalfa is indeed water-intensive and highly unproductive monetarily. But the ultimate value is far more than the sale price because both the beef and the dairy industry are supported by this crop.


Ease of Operations

Some crops, like rice, are easy to grow, despite being water-intensive and generating very little value per acre-foot of water. Growing such crops, farmers know sales are assured and they don’t have to depend on additional farm financing.


Consider Your Crops Carefully

If you are a responsible farmer that can go against the flow, make sure it counts on paper. Operating loans for farms may reward you with a lower rate of interest. Get in touch with one of our consultants at AgAmerica today to find out more.