What is drip irrigation?

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.

Drip irrigation technology

Why do farmers prefer drip irrigation?

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.

  • Higher consistent quality yields
  • Huge water savings: no evaporation, no run off, no waste
  • 100% land utilization - drip irrigates uniformly in any topography and soil type
  • Energy savings: drip irrigation works on low pressure
  • Efficient use of fertilizer and crop protection, with no leaching
  • Less dependency on weather, greater stability and lower risks
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Netafim Drip Irrigation for Corn in USA: Dan Luepkes's story

Why do plants prefer drip irrigation?

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:

  • High availability of water and nutrients
  • Doses of water and nutrients tailored to plant’s development needs
  • No saturation and good soil aeration
  • Avoids high salinity caused by excessive fertilizer application  
  • No wetting of foliage that can result in fungal diseases
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drip irrigation systems

Why the world needs 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.

  • Reduce impact of drought and climate change on food production 
  • Avoid contamination of ground water and rivers caused by fertilizer leaching
  • Support rural communities, reduce poverty, reduce migration to cities
See how drip irrigation is the key to sustainable agriculture
Drip irrigation for sustainable agriculture

FAQs

  • 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.  

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  • 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.

  • Is drip irrigation expensive?

    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.

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