Drip irrigation is the most efficient water and nutrient delivery system for growing crops. It delivers water and nutrients directly to the plant’s roots zone, in the right amounts, at the right time, so each plant gets exactly what it needs, when it needs it, to grow optimally. Thanks to drip irrigation, farmers can produce higher yields while saving on water as well as fertilizers, energy and even crop protection products.
How does it work?
Water and nutrients are delivered across the field in pipes called ‘dripperlines’ featuring smaller units known as ‘drippers’. Each dripper emits drops containing water and fertilizers, resulting in the uniform application of water and nutrients direct to each plant's root zone, across an entire field.
The reason is simple. Drip Irrigation not only delivers greater ROI compared to other of irrigation methods, it also gives farmers an efficient and simple way to operate their farms.
Just like people, plants like to get their water and nutrients in a balanced way. Nobody wants to eat a month's worth of food in one day, and the same goes for plants. Which is why drip irrigation applies water and nutrients frequently and in small doses, ensuring optimal growing conditions that helps 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 calories. Include increasing water scarcity, and it’s clear why we need a way to increase agricultural productivity and resource efficiency. That’s where drip irrigation fits in, changing the economics of global agriculture by allowing farmers to produce more calories per hectare and cubic meter of 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.