Things to know about drip irrigation system

Things to know about drip irrigation system
Things to know about drip irrigation system

This blog carries comprehensive information about the drip irrigation system and its benefits to agricultural crops.

The most important cultural practice in plant health management is irrigation, particularly in the context of less chemically reliant agriculture, which paves the path for sustainable agriculture. Irrigation is crucial to control the spread of pests and the severity of plant diseases. The most crucial of which is a drip irrigation system. In this blog, we will talk in detail about drip irrigation, its need and importance to agricultural crops. So let’s start with the basics:

Table of content

What is drip irrigation?

Drip irrigation is a repeated application of little water at low flow rates and pressures. Rather than irrigating the entire field surface, drip irrigation delivers water precisely to the plant, where nearly all of it can be utilised for plant growth.

In drip irrigation, dripper emitters deliver small, frequent doses of water to each plant individually. It is the most cutting-edge irrigation technique with the highest application efficiency.

Water is continuously provided in drops at the same location, permeating the soil and wetting the root zone vertically by gravity and laterally by capillary action. Only a small portion of the planted area is soaked.

The lateral movement of the water below the surface is larger in medium-heavy soils with good structure than in sandy soils. Additionally, water ponds on the surface when the dripper’s discharge rate exceeds the soil’s intake rate and hydraulic conductivity. As a result, the moisture is dispersed more laterally than vertically.

Do you know? With the help of Fasal sensors, you can meet the precise moisture need of the soil. Try the Fasal system yourself! Fill out this form to take a demo.

Drip irrigation
Drip irrigation

Need for the drip irrigation system.

Like humans, plants prefer to get their nutrients and water in a balanced manner. Nobody wants to consume a month’s worth of food in a single sitting, which also holds for plants. A drip irrigation system ensures ideal growing conditions that help create the maximum harvest possible by applying water and nutrients frequently and in small amounts.

A drip irrigation method makes plants more productive because

  • High availability of nutrients and water.
  • Water and nutrient dosages that are based on the needs of the plant’s development.
  • Good soil aeration and absence of saturation.
  • Prevents high salinity brought on by using too much fertiliser.
  • Fungal infections cannot develop on dry foliage.
Drip irrigation
Drip irrigation

Benefits of drip irrigation system

Water conservation:

This system has no wastage because water is supplied directly to the root zone. Water losses through drip irrigation are at most 2-3%, compared to sprinkler losses of 10-20% and surface irrigation losses of 35-70%.

Power conservation:

Since it runs at a considerably lower pressure, it saves power.

Preserving fertiliser usage:

When applied using a drip irrigation system, fertilisers and other chemicals can be given directly to the plant’s root zone, often resulting in a 25–30% reduction in amount and cost.

Saving Labor:

Construction of borders, bunds and other labour-intensive tasks connected with conventional irrigation systems are all eliminated by the use of technology, which can result in significant labour savings (between 60 and 90 per cent).

Decreased weed growth:

The germination of weed seeds and their subsequent growth depend on sufficient soil moisture. In drip, only the plant’s root zone obtains moisture. Hence weed growth is prevented from spreading widely.

Reduction in soil erosion:

It reduces soil erosion by feeding water and nutrients to the root zone at a lower pressure.

An increase in plant vigour and yield:

Regular water delivery to the soil without altering the soil structure has caused the young trees to grow considerably faster. This prevents damage brought on by physiological water stress, which is prevalent in traditional irrigation methods and maintains the ideal soil moisture level.

Improvement in plant produce:

The quality of plant products improves because water and nutrients are delivered slowly, consistently, and uniformly.

Pests and diseases:

By limiting soil surface moisture, humidity is minimised, which lowers the potential for the development of insect diseases and fungus issues.

Crops suitable for drip irrigation

Following are some examples of crops that can be irrigated with drip irrigation systems:

  • Crops grown in orchards include grapes, bananas, pomegranates, oranges, citrus fruits, mangoes, lemons, custard apples, guavas, pineapples, cashew nuts, papayas, litchis, watermelons, and others.
  • Vegetable plants – Tomato, Chilli, Capsicum, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Onion, Okra, Brinjal, Bitter Gourd, Ridge Gourd, Cucumber, Peas, Spinach, and Pumpkin, are some examples of vegetable plants ideal for the drip irrigation system.
  • Flowers plants – Rose, Carnation, Gerbera, Anthurium, Orchids, Jasmine, Dahlia, Marigold, etc.- can be watered using a drip irrigation system.
  • Plantation crops – Rubber, coffee, coconuts, etc., are a few plantation crops that can be irrigated with drip irrigation.
  • Spices: Turmeric, cloves, mint, and other spices are appropriate for drip irrigation systems.
  • Oilseeds – Sunflower, Oil palm, groundnut, and other oilseeds can be grown with drip irrigation systems.
  • Forest crops – Teakwood, bamboo, and other types of forest crops are appropriate for drip irrigation systems.

Layout for drip irrigation system

The elements of a typical drip irrigation system are depicted in and include:

  • Pump
  • Control head
  • Primary and secondary lines
  • Lateral
  • Emitters and drippers
Diagram of drip irrigation system
Diagram of drip irrigation system

The pump unit draws water from the source and delivers it at the proper pressure into the pipe network.

The control head comprises valves regulating the pressure and discharge across the system. To clean the water, it could also have filters. The screen and graded sand filters remove fine particles suspended in water. A tank for nutrients or fertiliser is included in some control head units. During irrigation, these gradually dispense a prescribed amount of fertiliser into the water. This is only one of drip irrigation’s many benefits over other irrigation techniques.

The control head sends water to the fields via mainlines, sub-mains, and laterals. They are often composed of PVC or polyethylene hose and should be buried underground because direct sunlight quickly causes them to deteriorate. Typical lateral pipe diameters range from 13 to 32 mm.

Devices are used to regulate the water flow from the lateral to the plants, such as emitters or drippers. One or more emitters may be utilised for a single plant, such as a tree, and they have typically placed more than one metre apart.

To learn more about setting up the drip irrigation system, read this blog: Link

Sprinkler vs Drip irrigation

Sprinkler systems and drip irrigation are two of the most used methods for watering plants in agriculture. If you’re unsure of how these two systems differ from one another. You can recognise the differences using the table below.

Water is dispersed in a regulated manner by drip irrigation systems. Drip irrigation often uses a network of lengthy plastic pipes to reduce water loss due to runoff and evaporation.

On the other hand, a sprinkler system disperses water across a wider, more regulated area. When it comes to sprinklers, the pipes are underground and only the spray heads are visible above ground, unlike drip irrigation systems, which have above-ground pipes.

Drip irrigation.Sprinkler irrigation.
A water-saving solution.Highly efficient system given its uniform water distribution.
Reduced pest problems and disease.It does not need a specially trained person to operate it
Uses a low-power pump.Early ripening of crop, a better yield of the crop.
Good adaption, suitable to a different surface of the soil.Uniform application of fertiliser and pesticide.
Pipe blockageComparatively high initial cost.
Needs regular maintenance.The sprinkler system requires a power pump to work.
Greater chances of pest problems.
The efficiency of watering will decrease with strong wind or high-temperature conditions.
Sprinkler vs Drip irrigation system

How can Fasal assist?

  • India does not lack agricultural technology, as more entrepreneurs take on the role of Agritech innovation leadership. Through its AI-driven IoT system, Fasal has made significant progress in empowering horticulturists and giving them a chance to produce higher-quality yields.
  • The Fasal system gathers current information on conditions from farm sensors to provide farmers with recommendations that are specific to their farming practices. Farmers may now accurately irrigate their crops and lessen the possibility of low harvests owing to over- or under-irrigation with the use of sensors installed in the Fasal system.
  • Fasal system uses sensors and other monitoring tools to continuously monitor the microclimatic conditions on farms, allowing irrigation to be planned ahead of time and reducing the impact of unpredictable weather on farms.
  • Farmers can better plan their irrigation by being informed via the Fasal system of any prospects of rain during the next 14 days.
  • Using exact measurements of the soil’s moisture, the Fasal system alerts farmers when the land needs to be watered and helps them determine how much irrigation water is necessary.

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