Drip irrigation is the most efficient water and nutrient delivery system for growing crops. It delivers water and nutrients directly to the plant’s root zone, in the right amounts, at the right time, so each plant gets exactly what it needs, when it needs it, to grow optimally. With drip irrigation, farmers can produce higher yields while saving on resources such as water, fertilizers, and energy.
How does it work?
Water and nutrients are delivered across the field in pipes called ‘driplines’ featuring small 'emitters'. Each emitter puts out drops of water and fertilizers, resulting in the uniform application of water and nutrients directly to each plant's root zone, across an entire field.
Drip Irrigation delivers greater ROI when compared to other irrigation methods, it also gives farmers an efficient and simple way to operate their farms.
Just like people, plants prefer their water and nutrients in a balanced way. Nobody wants to eat a month's worth of food in one day. With drip irrigation plants uptake water and nutrients in smaller doses, more frequently, ensuring optimal growing conditions that produce the highest yields possible.
Here’s why plants are more productive with drip irrigation:
By 2050, there’ll be 10 billion people living on our planet, and 20% less arable land per person to grow enough food. Include increasing water scarcity, and it’s clear why we need a way to increase agricultural productivity and resource efficiency. This is where drip irrigation come in, changing the economics of global agriculture by allowing farmers to produce more crops per acre with less water.
Which crops are suitable for drip irrigation?
Any crop can be grown using drip irrigation. From field crops such as corn soybean or sugarcane, to vegetables and tree crops. Either growing in soil or in a soilless media. On a flat field or on sloping terrain – drip irrigation fits all topographies. The only decision is choosing the right drip configuration based on your crop and field conditions.
How efficient is drip irrigation?
Drip irrigation is known to be the most efficient irrigation methods with 95-100% water use efficiency. This is compared to sprinkler systems that have 80-85% water use efficiency or flood and furrow that are 60-70% efficient. Efficiency is related to the effectiveness of the system on crop performance and eventually on yield and profitability of the farmer.
Farmers looking to invest in a drip irrigation system should calculate ROI versus alternative irrigation methods. Because drip irrigation delivers significant increases in crop yields while saving on inputs (water, fertilizer, energy and labor), it can pay for itself in a relatively short period of time and give farmers more profit in their pocket.