Drip irrigation is one of the most cost-effective and efficient watering methods in agriculture. It has become incredibly popular in the past 50-years and has been widely adopted by agriculturalists in dozens of countries throughout the world.
In simple term, drip irrigation works by sending water through plastic pipes into drip emitters. These emitters are specifically designed to release water at a certain rate, called the flow rate. There are also Pressure Compensated (PC) emitters available that prevent pressure loss, allowing the first and last emitter in the line to have the same flow rate.
Drip irrigation pipes can be laid on the surface of the soil or buried at root level. Drip irrigation is far more water-efficient than many other irrigation methods including flood irrigation and spray irrigation.
To maximise the benefits that you receive from a drip irrigation system, it is important to use a professional drip irrigation design service. A professional design service will ensure the installation uses the appropriate technology mix to maximise the benefits you receive. This article will examine drip irrigation technology, its advantages over other forms of irrigation and the importance of using a drip irrigation design service.
The History of Drip Irrigation
Historians believe that drip irrigation has been in use for thousands of years. The earliest written record of drip irrigation can be found in Fan Sheng-Chih Shu, a Chinese agriculturalist manual from the 1st-Century BC. Ancient drip irrigation designs used buried clay pots filled with water. The pots would accurately drip water to the plant’s roots. This kind of drip irrigation design continued to be used over the century and was popular in the Middle East and throughout Asia.
Modern-day drip irrigation design began in the 19th-Century, with German researchers testing subsurface clay pipes. These pipes operated as both a drainage method and drip irrigation technique. The use of plastic pipes began in the 1950s and researchers began testing micro irrigation systems.
Symcha Blass, a retired British Water Agency employee living in Israel, developed larger plastic emitters that were less likely to be blocked. This emitter type was patented in the 1964 and is still in use today. Richard Chapin, an American inventor, developed the first drip tape in the 1960s. Drip tape is a thin walled dripperline that is extremely flexible and can be rerouted easily. Technology has continued to improve over the years and there are now many advanced emitters, pipes and control systems used in drip irrigation systems.
Advantages of Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation is one of the most important inventions in the history of agriculture. It is capable of saving vast amounts of water and is very popular in any country with limited water resources. The key advantages of drip irrigation include:
- Water application is extremely efficient and little water is lost to evaporation
- Fertiliser and nutrient application is very efficient because fluids are applied directly on the plant. This allows farmers to save money on fertiliser.
- Non-potable water can be safely used
- Drip irrigation designs can accomodate fields of any shape
- Field levelling is not required for drip irrigation
- There is less soil erosion caused by water run off
- There are less weeds, because water is directed towards crops and not used haphazardly
- Water does not land on leaves, which reduces the risk of some diseases occurring
- Water distribution is highly precise and easy to control
- The permeability of soil is less important
- Drip irrigation is environmentally friendly because precise fertiliser application means fertilisers will not mix with the ground water
- Compared to other watering methods, drip irrigation is not labour intensive.
Why Drip Irrigation Design is Important
It is a good idea to use a professional drip irrigation design consultant for a number of reasons including:
Large-scale Drip Irrigation Designs Can be Complex
While the principle of drip irrigation is very simple, there are many components used in modern commercial drip irrigation systems. Those components include pumps, water filters, backwash controllers, pressure control valves, safety valves, various types of emitting devices and various poly fittings. Using a professional drip irrigation design service ensures that the system is designed to be reliable, efficient and cost-effective.
Drip Irrigation Designs Should be Tailored to Your Property
Drip irrigation designs should be matched to your farm’s operating conditions including the type of water you have, the infrastructure already in place and the lay of the land. A professional drip irrigation design service will take all of these factors into hand, designing a system that is perfect for your farm.
There Are Many Types of Drip Irrigation Systems on the Market
There are hundreds of drip irrigation components on the market. A professional drip irrigation consultant knows which components are more reliable, better value-for-money and ideal for your installation. They have the experience necessary to help you save thousands of dollars on your installation.
Different crops and climates need different systems
When designing a drip irrigation system, it is important to consider the type of crops being grown and the climate. Alterations may need to be made to obtain the best results from a drip irrigation system. A professional drip irrigation design service is experienced with a wide variety of installations — they can make certain your drip irrigation system is appropriate for your crop and climate.
Drip Irrigation Designers can 3D Model Installations Before Building
Professional design services use 3D modelling procedures that can simulate complex drip irrigation systems and related components, including pump stations, emitters and filters. These 3D modelling procedures can test the efficiency of the system before it is rolled out. Any potential problems with the installation can also be identified well before they cost you any money.