What is drip irrigation?
What are different methods of irrigation?
Please refer our post on different methods of irrigation – How to irrigate your crops with Different Methods of irrigation? | Agristudent.com
What is Drip Irrigation Method?
Drip irrigation is defined as the precise, slow and frequent application of small quantities of water to the soil in the form of discrete drops, continuous drops, and tiny streams through emitters located at selected points along a water delivery lateral line
Also known as trickle irrigation, it is one of the latest innovations for applying water, and represents a definite advancement in irrigation technology
Current technology was developed by Israeli scientist named Symcha Blass in the year 1964
Which countries have higest areas under drip irrigation?
Largest area under this method of irrigation is in the USA and Spain followed by India
What is surface and sub surface drip irrigation systems?
Surface drip irrigation
The application of water to the soil surface as drops or tiny streams through emitters with discharges rate for point-source emitters less than 8 L/h for single outlet emitter and for line-source emitters less than 4 L/h
Subsurface drip irrigation
The application of water below the soil surface through emitters, with discharge rate generally in the range of 0.6 to 3 L/h
What are the components of drip irrigation system?
The drip irrigation system consists of three subsystems viz.,
control head unit,
water carrier system and
water distribution system
a) Control head unit
it consists of the following parts -Non return valve, Air release valve, Vacuum breaker, Filtration unit, Fertigation unit, Throttle valve, Pressure gauge, Water meter, Pressure regulator and Pressure relief valve
b) Water carrier system
It cinsists if the following
PVC main pipeline, PVC submain pipeline, Control valve, Flush valve and other fittings
c) Water distribution system
Drip lateral, Emitters, Grommet, Start connecter, Nipple, End cap
Which crops are suitable for drip irrigation method?
Drip irrigation, like other irrigation methods, does not fit every agricultural crop. However it is found to be good in the following crops
a) Fruit crops – Mango, citrus, grapes, guava, pomegranate, banana, papaya, watermelon, Litchi, Fig, Ber, Amla, Sapota etc
b) Vegetable crops – Tomato, Brinjal, Bhendi, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Capsicum, Chillies gourds etc
c) Plantation crops – Oil palm, Coconut, Arecanut, Cashewnut, Coffee, Tea etc
d) Field crops – Cotton, Sugarcane, Tobacco, Sugarbeet, Castor etc
e) Tuber & Bulb crops – Potato, Cassava, Onion, Sweet potato, Radish, Colocasia etc
f) Spices – Turmeric, Ginger, Cardamom etc
g) Flowers – Roses, Rose, Gerbera, Orchids, Anthurium, Gladiolus, Carnations, Jasmine, Chrysanthemum, Marigold etc.
Further this method of irrigation continuous to be important in greenhouse production of vegetables & flowers
Drip irrigation is also used for landscaping of parks, highways, commercial developments and residences since it saves labour, water and land
What are the advantages and disadvantages of drip irrigation?
a) Enhanced plant growth, crop yield and premium quality produce
b) Water Saving due to increased beneficial use of available water and higher water application efficiency
c) Precise and uniform delivery of water to crops due to controlled water application
d) Maintenance of higher soil water potential in the root zone
e) Compact and efficient root system
f) Combined water and fertilizer (fertigation) application minimizes nutrient losses and improves fertilizer use efficiency and contributes to fertilizer saving in some crops
g) Reduced salinity hazards to crop plants when low quality saline water is used for irrigation
h) Suitable for irrigating high-value crops raised in greenhouses, plastic tunnels, potted plants and under plastic mulches
i) Lower operating pressures means reduced pumping energy costs
j) Limited weed growth because only a fraction of the soil surface is irrigated
k) Reduced operational and labour costs due to improved weed control and simultaneous application of water, fertilizers, herbicide, insecticide, fungicide and other additives through the drip irrigation system
l) Feasible to irrigate crops raised in small & irregularly shaped narrow lawns, and on undulated land terrains
m) Maintenance of dry foliage means improved disease and pest management
n) Suitable to highly permeable & low water holding sandy and desert soils, saline and slowly permeable alkaline soils, wastelands, slopy lands and rocky hills, road embankments, abandoned mine areas etc
o) Improved and continuous cultural operations such as spraying, weeding, thinning and harvesting of tree and row crops is possible without interrupting the drip irrigation cycle for any prolonged period of time
p) Environmental protection and ecological security
a) Sensitivity to emitter clogging
b) Salt accumulation in soil
c) Mechanical damage to system components
d) Lack of microclimate control such as frost protection and evaporative cooling
e) Operational constraints such as high technical skills, stringent filtration and operating pressures
Further readings and references
Handbook of agriculture