Drip irrigation has been described as one of the best types of irrigation in the world because of the advantages it has over other types of irrigation.
Drip irrigation drips water to the root zone of plants, this allows the plants to make maximum use of water.
What is drip irrigation?
Drip irrigation also called trickle irrigation or pulse irrigation or micro-irrigation is a form of irrigation that passes water to the root zone of plants in a trickle manner.
Drip irrigation systems use a network of pipes, hoses, connectors and other accessories to irrigate crops.
The advantages of drip irrigation are:
The following are some of the merits or advantages of using drip irrigation:
- With the use of drip irrigation, the leaching or loss of fertilizers and nutrients is reduced due to the localization of the application of fertilizers.
- Drip irrigation enables plants to maximize the usage of water.
- Drip irrigation tubings can be laid on farmland irrespective of the topography or slope.
- Plants are almost certain of getting access to water at all times as drip irrigation tapes or pipes emit water only to the root zone of plants.
- Drip irrigation can be used on any type of soil.
- Erosion is reduced or eliminated in some cases if drip irrigation is used.
- Weed pressure is also reduced if drip irrigation is used.
- Fertigation and Chemigation can be practiced. Fertigation can improve the fertilizer usage efficiency and significantly improve yield.
- Fertigation can also reduce the volume of fertilizers to be used and yet increase the crop yield.
- The risk of diseases is reduced when drip irrigation is used. Drip irrigation does not spray water on the leaves and stems of plant.
- Drip irrigation can reduce the cost of labour.
- Drip irrigation systems can be automated and operated remotely.
The disadvantages of drip irrigation are:
The disadvantages of using drip irrigation system are:
- The cost of acquiring drip irrigation system may be high for small holder farmers especially the poor ones.
- There may be an associated training cost for illiterate farmers on how to use drip irrigation systems.
- Some drip irrigation tapes or hoses may get bad after years of use. This may make the farmer to buy new ones.
- Dirty water may damage the drip irrigation system. Farmers may need to incur expenses on filtration systems.
- Some drip tapes can be damaged by rodents.
- Tractors and other farm implements may not be used on farmland with drip irrigation lines.
In spite of the demerits of using drip irrigation systems, the merits far outweigh the demerits.