Drip emission – drip tapes/drip lines and online drippers

In the end, it’s all about the drip emitter.

It is the drip emitter that applies the actual water to the crop. The entire system is designed so that the drip emitter can apply the required water application to the crop.

So what are the questions that you need to answer regarding drip emission?

  • Application – surface (including hanging on a wire), shallow burial, deep subsurface (SDI), or with pegs (online drippers only)

  • Run length required – length of the lateral from submain to the end of the row

  • Features required – pressure compensation for slopes and long run lengths, anti-siphon to prevent suckback and no-drain for pulse irrigation

  • Diameter – also considering the internal and external diameter of the drip lateral

  • Wall thickness – of the drip lateral hose itself

  • Emitter spacing – the distance between emitters

  • Flow rate – of each drip emitter


In this section of the module, we will look at each of these areas.


A fundamental decision for open-field applications, which will influence the rest of the system, is which of these three application categories will be used:

  • Seasonal/multi-season – generally thin wall/tapes (4–10 mil) that are replaced each season. For multi-season, this does not refer to perennial crops. It is seasonal crops where a thicker tube is used, which is retrieved and reinstalled for multiple seasons.
  • Permanent – usually installed hanging or on-ground, but can also include shallow burial (<10 cm) (<4 in).
    Heavy wall tube (35–45 mil) for 10+ years of use in perennial crops.

  • Subsurface – deep burial (20+ cm) (8+ in) of the drip line/tape.

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Before using these modules, please familiarize yourself with the relevant disclaimers and additional safety and usage information contained within each module.

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