This report presents and discusses the results of the Survey of Irrigation of Outdoor Crops in 2005 for England and Wales. The data includes areas irrigated and volumes of water used, by crop category, as well as information on irrigation scheduling, application methods, water sources and water resources. The survey was sent to all registered agricultural holdings that irrigated at least 1 hectare, as reported to the 2005 June Agricultural Survey. It is estimated that responses were received for England from 21% of all irrigated holdings, representing 27% of the total irrigated area. For Wales, which contains less than 1% of the total irrigated area, the corresponding figures are lower, at 12% of holdings and 17% of the total irrigated area. In addition, all others who responded to the 2001 survey were surveyed, but are not included in the above figures. Results are presented for England, Wales, the eight Environment Agency regions and 28 CAMS catchments, as far as confidentiality restrictions allow. When analysing results, it is important to consider the weather in each year. In irrigation terms, 2005 was a wet year, depressing the areas irrigated and water used. The irrigated areas and volumes of water applied fell for almost all crop categories compared to 2001, and particularly for main crop potatoes. Nevertheless, potatoes, remained the dominant irrigated crop, followed by vegetables. Water use reduced from all sources, with a slight increase in the proportion from groundwater. The proportion of the area where irrigation is scheduled scientifically rose to 60%. Hose- reel irrigation systems remain the predominant irrigation method, with more fitted with booms. The proportion irrigated by trickle (drip) remained constant at 5%. Just under half of the available water resources were reported used. Only 10% of holdings would have used more water if available, and only an additional 14% would have been used. Over 40% of holdings reported having some storage capacity. If linear trends are assumed over 1982-2005, the growth in total irrigated area and total water use are lower than reported previously for 1982-2001. An alternative explanation is that there was a reduction in irrigation growth rates some time around 2000. This explanation is supported by the trend in actual abstractions for agricultural spray irrigation recorded in the Environment Agency NALD database. A further survey is recommended for 2010
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