What is drip irrigation?
Drip irrigation refers to the practice of providing a specific area of the plant with small amounts of water and nutrients at regular intervals of time. This nutrients and water is generally provided directly to the roots area of a plant where the actual water absorption takes place. A drip irrigation system that is well installed and properly working has various benefits that can save farmers a lot of money in the long run and show the return on investments pretty quickly.
There are 2 main types of irrigation systems:
- Surface drip irrigation systems: This refers to a system that uses a close emitter spacing and a thin wall drip line that is injected about one inch to six inches below the surface. The surface drip irrigation system is often a temporary system as the drip line is removed and replaced on an annual basis. The sub mains can however be permanent or temporary based on the farmers choice during instillation. This type of system is generally used on high value crops that can cover the annual replacement costs for the drip line and labour associated with the same.
- Sub surface drip irrigation systems: This refers to a system that uses an emitter spacing and a slightly thicker wall as compared to the surface drip irrigation system. It also has a drip line that is injected 8 inches to 14 inches below the surface. Unlike the surface drip systems, the sub surface drip systems are permanent and do not need any replacement unless damaged. Due to this, it is extremely important that the system is installed perfectly to ensure its effectiveness and longevity. These systems are generally used in row crops but are slowly being integrated to be used for high value crops as well.
Advantage of drip irrigation:
This irrigation system has various advantages like:
• Prevention of plant diseases by reducing the contact of water with leaves, stems and fruits of the plants.
• Gives room for the rows between plants to remain dry that reduces the chances of weed growth.
• Reduces labour costs
• Increase efficiency by saving time, money and other resources
• Reduction in water consumption, hence farmers have to a pay a lower water bill
• Easy maintenance and repair if needed
• Ensures effectiveness even on uneven cultivation ground
• Reduces leaching of water and nutrients below the plant roots area
• Reduces unwanted water run-off
• Boosts plant growth
A drip irrigation system has increased irrigation effectiveness to over 90 percent allowing the waters to receive the right quantity and the exact absorption location that not only boosts plant growth but also ensures that no resources are wasted in this process. While a drip irrigation system can seem to be an unwanted and expensive investment to farmers initially, it has proven its benefits over the years and is among the most common automated irrigation systems. There are various components to a drip system that will define it effectiveness and it can vary based on the size of operations, type of plant, spending ability of farmers etc. it best to get in touch with a professional that can compile all external factors and provide the right suitability.