Defining drip irrigation

We will sum up what drip irrigation is by what it does:

It applies water directly to the plant root zone via drip emitters.
The water application is:

a. at a low volume
b. over a long period of time
c. frequently applied.

Often fertilizers and chemicals are applied through the water delivery.


The opposite – flood irrigation – has water being applied over the entire field at a high volume, with large time intervals in between, and it is just water, not fertilizers or chemicals.


Why farmers choose drip irrigation:

Crop uniformity -
consistent water delivery to each plant at each dripper is designed to emit a specified flow of water
Crop quality -
does not cause water damage to foliage and vegetables as water is applied at/below ground level
Fertilizer savings -
fertilizer is injected directly into the system and is delivered directly to the root zone, providing more efficient fertilizer use
Water savings -
irrigating directly to the root zone and less loss to evaporation
Not impacted by wind -
unlike sprinklers and sprays, you can irrigate even in high wind conditions while maintaining irrigation and crop uniformity
Doesn’t irrigate the interrows -
interrows can make up 60% of the field. Sprinkler and flood irrigate the interrows, which, in addition to the loss of water, encourages weed growth that may require herbicide treatment
Operational benefits -
provides the ability to operate machinery while irrigating at the same time
Unlock land -
provides the ability to irrigate on sloping terrain and irregular shape blocks
Light and flexible -
easily change crops and fields each season using seasonal drip systems, and multi-use subsurface systems

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