Drip irrigation is a type of irrigation that delivers water to the root zone of plants using a network of tubes, pipes and tapes. Drip irrigation wets the root zone of plants by dropping water in trickles in a controlled and efficient manner.
Benefits of Drip Irrigation
The following are the benefits of drip irrigation:
Conservation of Water
One of the key benefits of using drip irrigation is the conservation of water. Drip irrigation ensures that the right volume of water is passed to crop. It also irrigates crops through the roots. The roots are the parts of plants that make use of water in the most efficient manner.
Drip irrigation prevents water run-off, erosion and leaching of soil nutrients. Drip irrigation saves 50 -80% of water as compared to other types of irrigation.
All Year Round Supply of Water
Drip irrigation ensures the all year round supply of water to crops. This can guarantee an all year round farming for farmers. Farmers who cultivate their crops all year round are likely to have better yields and more profit.
The precise delivery of water to the roots of plants enabled by drip irrigation systems makes drip irrigation a very efficient type of irrigation.
Drip irrigation also reduces the need for labour for irrigating plants; this can lead to better labour efficiency.
There is also efficiency in the use of fertilizers as drip irrigation reduces the need for fertilizers.
Fertigation is the application of fertilisers or nutrients to plants through the drip irrigation system. Venturi injectors or dosing pumps are the main tools used in fertigation. I am sure you have seen farmers using their hand to side dress and top dress fertilisers on their farmlands, this is inefficient, time consuming and expensive. With fertigation, all a farmer needs is to mix his fertilisers in water and pass it to the crops through the drip irrigation system. Fertigation enables farmers to fertilise their plants every day or intermittently, this can increase yield significantly.
Reduced Weed Growth
Drip irrigation does not sprinkle water all around the farm; instead, it passes water to the root zone of plants. This reduces the weed pressure on the field. Lesser weeds results in lesser incidences of pests and diseases, efficiency in the plants’ usage of nutrients and increased yield.
Drip irrigation systems are usually flexible and can be used for any type of crop. It can be used to serve the specific needs of almost all types of crop.
Reduced disease pressure
Drip irrigation does not spray water on the leaves and stems on plants, so the incidences of fungal diseases is greatly reduced unlike other types of irrigation like rain guns which sprinkles water on the foliage of crops.
Chemigation is the application of chemicals or pesticides to plants through the drip irrigation system. Chemicals like nematicides, systemic insecticides, systemic fungicides and acaricides etc can be applied to plants through the drip irrigation tubings. For example, a soil that is infected with nematodes can be treated by the application of nematicides through the drip irrigation system. Plants that are infested with insects can also be cured by the application of systemic insecticides through the drip irrigation system. Systemic fungicides can also be applied through the drip irrigation system to address the issue of fungal diseases on crops.
Do you use a drip irrigation system? If yes, please share with us in the comments’ section, the benefits you have derived from using drip irrigation.