Agriculture

Netafim Introduces the FIRST Drip Irrigation System Utilizing Dairy Effluent

SDI-E Turns Waste Into Value

A Circular Economy Model Driving Sustainability in Dairy Manure Management

Challenging traditional methods of irrigation, SDI-E enables the efficient use of water and on-farm nutrients, minimizing the impact on the environment; meeting the needs of the modern Dairy Farmer. SDI-E is the subsurface drip irrigation solution that allows the consistent and reliable application of dairy effluent as a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Farmers have the capacity to sustainably grow feed crops utilizing on-farm nutrients producing higher quality and higher yields.

Cost share funding is available through EQIP, SWEEP, and Netafim Financial.

Let Us Help You Find the Right Funding Solution

The Challenge for Dairy Farmers

Dairy Farmers needed a solution to manage manure waste, utilizing it to fertlize feed crops. At the same time, the California drought pushed for solutions to use water more efficiently.

Got Milk? California Dairy Farmers churn out 21% of Americas milk supply. The exceptional season of record breaking drought has been rough on California Dairies, driving up the cost of feed and water. Consumers feel the effects at the grocery store with an average cost of a gallon of milk between $3-$4. Facing incredible water challenges, farmers have been forced to let thousands of acres of forage crop lie parched and unplanted, making feed for livestock scarce and expensive. In addition to feed cost, farmers are paying more for water. 

Download the SDI-E Brochure

SDI-E project named 2022 IA Vanguard Award recipient

The Netafim’s Subsurface Drip Irrigation for Dairy Effluent Water Application project has been named the recipient of the 2022 Vanguard Award, sponsored by Hunter Industries. The IA’s Vanguard Award honors an innovative project in the irrigation industry executed by a team of individuals, companies, organizations or other group entities. Projects chosen for this award exemplify the IA’s mission of promoting efficient irrigation.

 

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Vanguard Award Recipient

Drip for Dairy Farmers

Winner of the 2020 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Community Impact, the innovative system uses advanced filtration and proprietary, patent-pending technology developed by Netafim to blend dairy wastewater with fresh water at an optimum ratio through monitoring of the electrical conductivity (EC) in the water as it passes by a sensor. As the EC of the water changes, Netafim’s system is able to make real-time adjustments to the blending valves in order to keep the fertilizer mixture in a prescribed ratio as it is delivered to the plant’s roots though drip irrigation tubing buried below the surface. This process not only re-uses water, but also recycles manure as a natural crop nutrient and soil builder, reducing the need for commercial fertilizer.

Download the SDI-E Guide

Partnerships for Innovation and Environmental Wins

Strategic collaboration fuels creative and innovative solutions, in this case the partners involved developed a sustainable solution to help dairies manage manure waste, creating a closed loop system in dairy manure management.

 

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Cost Share and Financing Solutions for SDI-E Systems

Cost Share funding is available through EQIP and SWEEP. Financial Solutions service through Netafim is also available. 

Let Us Help You Find the Right Solution

Benefits of Utilizing On-Farm Nutrients

In one year, an average Dairy Farm with 1,250 Holstein Milk Cows can produce about 217,250 lbs of nutrients, enough for 800 acres of field or silage corn. Recycling this organic waste can benefit the environment and farm operations in numerous ways.

Healthier Root Environment

Healthier Root Environment

A blend of dairy effluent and freshwater is applied directly to the roots as the water expands outward in all directions from the drippers. 

Water Conservation

Water Conservation

By applying an effluent water freshwater mix directly to the root zone via SDI, evaporation is almost totally eliminated. No moisture on soil surface means less weed growth and less cultivation or herbicide sprays.

Nutrient Conservation

Nutrient Conservation

Coordinating timing of nutrient distribution with plant uptake can reduce the amount of nutrients applied. With drip, nutrients are applied directly to the roots becoming quickly available to the crop.

Energy Conservation

Energy Conservation

Typically, SDI gives the ability to reduce overall amount of nutrients being applied, because it is applied with better timing coordinated with plant
uptake. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Approximately 70-90% fewer greenhouse gases are released, when dairy effluent water is applied through an SDI system.

SDI-E Helps Farmers Meet Challenges and Improve Smart Water Practices

Dairy Farmers face many challenges, one of which is the use of readily available, nutrient-rich liquid effluent as a forage crop fertilizer. With SDI-E, farmers tackle stricter environmental regulations benefiting the environment and improving operational efficiencies.

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"The SDI-E system presents a great opportunity for dairies nationwide to improve their operations and increase productivity while also achieving the environmental sustainability needs of the industry."

Domonic Rossini, Agronomy Leader, West

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Successful SDI-E Implementation Requires the Following Set-up

  • Maximum 5 Cows to 1 Acre Ratio for effective nutrient management
  • The use of 2 lagoons or settling ponds for effluent water filtration
  • Netafim's Patented Blending Control Technology for fresh/effluent water blending
  • Use of sprinklers or flood irrigation for germination, then transition to SDI-E
  • Optimized and engineered water intake
  • Operations focu on dripline maintenance

SDI-E Irrigation System Overview

Subsurface Drip Irrigation is a management tool that allows precise control over the root zone environment of your crop. This added management control results in consistently higher yields and better quality. In addition, better water and nutrient management can help reduce fertilizer inputs, water needs, and runoff. Scroll through and learn more about the components required for an SDI-E system. To determine a system configuration suitable for your crops, a Netafim Authorized Digital Farming Dealer can determine what configuration is best.

Booster Pumps

Booster Pumps

Two pumps are required at the head of the filter station for blending of the effluent water and fresh water before filtration.  

Water Meters

Water Meters

An essential component to monitor flow, system operation and crop water use. 

Pressure Gauges

Pressure Gauges

In order to maintain system performance, pressure gauges should be placed at key locations.

Mixing Valves

Mixing Valves

Electronically powered mixing valves isolate and regulate flow of the fresh/effluent water mix. 

Filtration

Filtration

The filter system protects the drip system from the fine sand and other small particles that can plug the emitters. Sand media filters utilize depth filtration which is most effective at removing suspended particles from the water.

Air Compressor

Air Compressor

A small air compressor is recommended for flushing valves. 

NMC-Pro Controller

NMC-Pro Controller

The NMC Pro System Manager operates, moinitor the performance of your irrigation system. 

EC/pH Monitoring and Control Unit

EC/pH Monitoring and Control Unit

The EC/pH 4G unit displays and transmits to an NMC Controller allowing chemical injection to regulate EC and pH levels.

EC and pH Sensors

EC and pH Sensors

For reliable measurement of salinity in the fresh/effluent water mix. 

Fertikit 3G

Fertikit 3G

Combined with the NMC Pro Controller, the Fertikit 3G gives you the ability to control and make precise injection and dosing applications. 

Pressure Reducing Valves

Pressure Reducing Valves

For control and optimizing of drip irrigations systems. 

Manifolds

Manifolds

Manifolds are used after control valves to supply the fresh/effluent water mix to the driplines. A manifold design incorporating friction loss is critical in distribution uniformity of the water mix.

Air/Vacuum Relief Vents

Air/Vacuum Relief Vents

Air vents added to the lower end of the pipeline ensures system operation. Comination Aire Vents are used downstream of all freshwater pumps and upstream of all field valves. 

Dripline Specification

Dripline Specification

Netafim driplines deliver water precisely to the plant roots. Choosing the proper dripline is critical. An Authorized Netafim Dealer can help you spec the right dripline for your farm. 

Flush Manifolds

Flush Manifolds

The use of flush manifolds is required to properly flush the driplines and reduce the labor requirement at the same time.

Make Your Farming Operation More Profitable

Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) is a management tool that helps you gain control of the root zone environment by delivering water and nutrients straight to the roots of each plant. It helps you maintain optimal soil moisture levels, uniformly across your field, with better aeration. The result is increased yields, reduced water needs, and runoff, better management of crop quality, and less fertilizer and labor cost.

Additionally, you can use digital control systems to monitor and optimize your yield as it’s growing, gaining data about every stage of the crop lifecycle.

 

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