Tea plantation irrigation & NutrigationTM
Tea growing is an increasingly competitive business all over the world. Instability in tea prices and in profit margins affects growers, tea estate owners and investors.
In addition, a wide spectrum of concerns needs to be addressed, including:
- Global warming and growing threats of drought
- Decreasing yields from non-irrigated tea fields
- High drought sensitivity of new high yield clonal tea varieties
- Large fluctuations in annual tea production
- Inefficient and outdated irrigation systems
As a conclusion new tea growing strategies will have to be implemented to address most of these concerns.
The drip irrigation solution
- Nutrigation™ ensures optimal delivery of water and nutrients directly to the plant's active root zone.
- Lower evaporation rate saves water, prevents run off, deep percolation and leaching of nutrient reserves
- All farm practices (plucking, mechanical harvesting, weeding, etc.) can continue uninterrupted while Nutrigation™ scheduling is optimally operated.
- Drought threats are eliminated.
- New high-yield clonal tea varieties which are more sensitive to drought than the seedling varieties, thrive thanks to high-precision Nutrigation™
- The result is a significant increase of the tea yield and an improvement in the annual production curve.
- Cost savings in labor due to minimal hand-on involvement in irrigation and fertilization and in the processing plant.
- Better economical results: Reduced costs per kg production of "Made Tea", improved Net Present Value (NPV) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR).
Focusing on Tea Production and Research
Drip irrigation systems for specific tea production environments are successfully operating in Tanzania and Kenya.
Netafim is also involved in drip irrigation experiments to ascertain the most profitable water and fertilizer levels for Asian and East African tea clones. Among the research partners are the Tea Research Institute of Tanzania and the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka.
Drip irrigation systems
Pump unit and mainline pipe, head control comprising valves, filtration and fertilizer injection unit, sub-main pipes and valves for each irrigation block.
Double row spaced laterals with integral pressure compensated dripper featuring highest irrigation uniformity and clogging resistance.
Drip irrigation system can operate in any topography, field layout, soil type and water quality.
Optional: Remote control Nutrigation™ system
Tea Case Study - Tanzania (southern highlands)
Drip irrigation tea results after three years:
- Irrigation uniformity and efficiency: 90 - 95%
- Tea clone 6/8 yield: 60% higher than with conventional overhead sprinklers. Clone BBT133 yield increased by 40%.
Labor costs for a Nutrigation™ drip irrigation program were found to be 50% lower in comparison with a conventional sprinkler system.