Pioneered by Netafim in 1965, drip irrigation is an established irrigation technology that delivers water and nutrients directly to the plant root zone, minimizing waste and improving crop performance. For decades, drip irrigation has been used as a proven method for watering high-value vegetable crops, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that drip irrigation expanded to larger scale use in row crops. Since 1995 over 30 billion feet of dripline has been installed into row crop fields in the United States. The success of drip irrigation has been attributed to many factors. The primary reason has been the evolution of equipment developed during the past 20 years – advanced equipment that allows a grower with little or no experience to succeed.
WHY CHOOSE A NETAFIM DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM FOR YOUR CORN CROP?
Drip irrigation is more than an irrigation method, it’s a management tool that allows producers to apply the precise amount of water and nutrients directly to the root zone. The benefits are well documented and include improved control of fertilizer application, improved plant health, reduced water usage and consistently higher yields.
But for many growers, it’s subsurface drip irrigation’s (SDI) ability to:
- Maintain control over soil and climate variables
- Support increased plant populations
- Increase the number of irrigated acres which leads to a significant increase in annual yields
- Save water and energy costs
GET HIGHER YIELDS THROUGH
When used as a field management tool, drip irrigation provides growers with precision control over the root zone environment of their corn crop during the plant’s critical growth stages. This enables growers to maintain optimal uniform soil moisture levels with outstanding aeration while delivering precision quantities of nutrients and water directly to each plant’s root zone. Experienced growers agree that drip irrigation is well suited for maximizing growth and yield potential of corn crops.
INCREASED PLANT PRODUCTION
With corn, more ears means more yield. The control of the root zone offered by drip irrigation enables yield improvements through increased plant population or narrower rows. The precision control of drip irrigation and the ability to deliver water and nutrients directly to the root zone of each plant, minimizes competition among plants for resources during the critical growth stages. As new varieties come to market with the ability to tolerate higher plant populations and increased competition, growers tout drip irrigation’s ability to support more yield per acre than with center pivot irrigation.
Optimized soil conditions, improved nutrient uptake, reduced weed pressure and improved disease control create an ideal growth environment that in turn supports higher plant populations and promotes higher yields.
MORE IRRIGATED ACRES
Drip irrigation is able to easily adapt to irregular-shaped fields and effectively irrigate across the entire field including the corner acres that center pivot systems are unable to reach. A Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) system produces uniform growth and consistent yields across the entire field. Growers are able to maximize the return on every inch of their valuable land.
WHERE IS DRIP IRRIGATION BEING USED?
Drip irrigation is being used by growers across the nation as shown on the map below. As water supplies become limited, growers are increasingly turning to drip irrigation to reduce input costs and improve their bottom line through increased yields.
SDI has been used commercially for irrigating field corn since the early 1990’s. In most applications, one dripline irrigates two rows of corn and the dripline is buried 8 to 14 inches deep depending upon soil type and germination conditions. The placement of the dripline every other row is the most economic setup for field corn production. Netafim provides the following resources for a grower to learn more about SDI for corn production.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF A DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM?
It’s simple, for nearly 50 years, Netafim’s sole focus has been to develop innovative field-proven drip irrigation products that increase yields, reduce costs and result in more profitable farming. Leveraging technological expertise, industry experience and agronomic know-how, Netafim continues to develop innovative products designed to overcome the unique challenges of today’s modern farm.
GROW MORE CORN
Netafim’s new mobile app combines field, climate and weather data to forecast the watering needs of corn crops. The app delivers a customized drip irrigation scheduling protocol to maximize water use efficiency and boost corn yields.
NetMaize is a powerful new mobile app that provides corn growers who use drip irrigation with access to customized irrigation protocols and the agronomic expertise needed to boost crop productivity and reduce overall water use. It’s FREE to download for IOS and Android users. The app combines farmer inputs such as planting time, soil type, field location, and irrigation system configuration, with global weather data to provide a tailored drip irrigation program for corn growers.
Follow Kelly Garrett's Growing Season
In 2017 we followed Kelly Garrett of Arion, Iowa, on a journey that ended with winning the 2017 NCGA Yield title for irrigated corn in Iowa. His 312.46 bu/ac corn yield on his drip-irrigated corn bested his previous award-winning yield by 23 bu/ac. Now in his third year with drip irrigation, we are following Kelly’s progress as he goes for another yield title in 2018.