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April 16, 2022

Automation of coconut farming irrigation

What is automation of irrigation system?
Automating an irrigation system refers to a process where a device is used to operate an irrigation structure so that the change in the flow, quantity, speed and force of water can be controlled even if the irrigator is not physically present at that particular point. Automation can be of different levels ranging from a simple start and stop mechanism to an advanced model where almost all aspects of the water flow can be remotely controlled.

Coconut farm irrigation:
A coconut tree needs an exact soil water density to grow smoothly where the soil is moist but not soggy. The coconut trees need to be properly watered at least every 24 hours in summer. This amounts to at least 50 liters of water for an adult tree per day. Coconut palm trees respond to summer irrigation. If properly irrigated the production of female flowers and settings can increase drastically. The whole process takes about 3 years to show considerable benefits from the spadix initiation to the ripening of the coconuts. The most commonly used and successful method of keeping the soil moist even after irrigation is by burying the coconut husk to create a natural retention system.

Drip irrigation automation for coconut farms:
Drip irrigation: this refers to a system where water and nutrients are directly given in a plants root at the right time and right amounts so that each plant gets the exact amount of water as and when it is needed for optimal growth. This is the most efficient way of irrigating a coconut farm as it prevents overflooding and soggy soil as well as reduces the chances of dry soil which will inevitably kill the plant roots.
Unlike the traditional systems of irrigations that are used in coconut farms such as flood irrigation and basin irrigation, whose efficiency is less than 50% while the overhead costs like expenditure on labor and electricity is extremely high. Scarcity of water resources also adds to a major disadvantage of traditional irrigation systems.

Benefits of drip irrigation:
• Drastically saves water as the resource is target exactly where it is needed, that is, plant roots, and there is minimum wastage of the same.
• Enhances plant growth and yield as the right amount of water and nutrients are readily provided to the coconut trees at all times.
• Saves energy and labor as the irrigation system is automated and does not require manual handling. Energy is conserved as the drip irrigation system is a more efficient way of watering plants.
• Reduces weed growth and improves efficient use of fertilizers. This is facilitated as there is no unwanted moisture in locations other than the roots of the plants and this reduces the growth of weed. With a decrease in the growth of weed, the labor required to pluck out the weed, which is an extremely manual process is also reduced.

For a coconut tree, generally three to four drippers are given for each tree. The cost of the drip irrigation system will largely depend on the size of the coconut farm, number of trees planted, number of drippers per tree and the pump for the irrigation system.

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