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An Introduction to Drip Irrigation

 In an effort to find an alternative method of irrigating crops with high water demands in an arid region, we considered drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is the slow, even application of low pressure water to soil and plants using plastic tubing placed directly at the plants root zone.

Drip Irrigation BD, Where every drop of water means life.

WHY CONSIDER DRIP IRRIGATION?

Drip irrigation can help you use water efficiently. A well-designed drip irrigation system loses practically no water to runoff, deep percolation, or evaporation. Drip irrigation reduces water contact with crop leaves, stems, and fruit. Thus conditions may be less favorable for the onset of diseases. Irrigation scheduling can be managed precisely to meet crop demands, holding the promise of increased yield and quality.

Drip Irrigation BD irrigation equipment

Growers and irrigation professionals often refer to “subsurface drip irrigation,” or SDI. When a drip tape or tube is buried below the soil surface, it is less vulnerable to damage during cultivation or weeding. With SDI, water use efficiency is maximized because there is even less evaporation or runoff.

Agricultural chemicals can be applied more efficiently with drip irrigation. Since only the crop root zone is irrigated, nitrogen already in the soil is less subject to leaching losses, and applied fertilizer N can be used more efficiently. In the case of insecticides, less product might be needed. Make sure the insecticide is labeled for application through drip irrigation.

FILTERS AND PUMPS

Every trickle counts when you are battling a water shortage. An ineffective or improperly managed filter station can waste a lot of water and threaten a drip system’s fitness and accuracy.

The first and last pressure calculate by this formula. According to the Bernoulli’s Theorem

p_1 - p_2 = \frac{\rho}{2} (v_2^2 - v_1^2)

p_1 = pressure at position 1 before the narrowing of the pipe
p_2 = pressure at position 2 after the narrowing of the pipe
ρ = density of the fluid traveling in pipe
v_2 = velocity of the fluid at position 2
v_1 = velocity of the fluid at position 1

Sand media filters have been used extensively for micro irrigation systems. Screen filters and disk filters are common as alternatives or for use in combination with sand media filters.

Sand media filters provide filtration to 200 mesh, which is necessary to clean surface water and water from open canals for drip irrigation. These water sources pick up a lot of fine grit and organic material, which must be removed before the water passes through the drip tape emitters.

Figure . Drip irrigation BD systems with a pre filter, pump station with backflow prevention, and chemical injection site. The chemical injection site can be before or after the main filter station. A pressure control valve is recommended to adjust the water pressure as desired before it enters the drip lines. A water meter can be placed after the pressure control or between a solenoid valve and each zone. An air vent provides vacuum relief. Vacuum relief is necessary between the solenoid valve and the drip tapes to avoid suction of soil into the emitters when the system is shut off.

SYSTEM MANAGEMENT

If a drip hose system is used on the soil surface for perennial crops over a number of years, the drip hose should be lifted periodically so that leaves, soil, and debris do not cover the hose. If the drip hose is not lifted, roots can grow over the hose, anchor it to the ground, and eventually pinch off the flow of water.

Flow of Water

Place a water flow meter between the solenoid valve and each zone and record it’s gauge daily. This provides a clear indication of how much water is applied to each zone. Records of water flow can be used to detect deviations from the standard flow of the system, which may be caused by leaks or by clogged lines. The actual amount of water applied recorded on the meter can be compared with the estimated crop water use (crop evapotranspiration) to help assure efficient water management.

Watch for Leaks

Leaks can occur unexpectedly as a result of damage by insects, animals, or farming tools. Systematically monitor the lines for physical damage. It is important to fix holes as soon as possible to prevent uneven irrigation.

Fertilizer

Soil microorganisms convert nitrogen (N) fertilizers to nitrate. Nitrate is water soluble, available to plants, and subject to leaching loss. Since nitrate loss management was one of the initial reasons for our exploring drip irrigation, it is appropriate that we revisit this topic.

In drip irrigation system fertilizer distribute by venturi system. The Venturi effect is the phenomenon that occurs when a fluid that is flowing through a pipe is forced through a narrow section, resulting in a pressure decrease and a velocity increase. 

venturi effect

Typically, when irrigation is monitored closely, less nitrogen fertilizer is needed with drip irrigation systems than with furrow irrigation systems because the fertilizer is spoon-fed to the root system and little is lost due to leaching. For example, if a field is converted from furrow irrigation to drip irrigation and the amount of nitrogen fertilizer is not reduced, the crop may become excessively leafy which can inhibit curing and increase harvest costs as well as losses. Leaf tissue analysis performed by a qualified agricultural lab can help determine crop nutrition needs during the season, and tailor the N fertilizer applications to actual crop needs.

Fertilizer can be injected through the drip system. Fertilizer usually is introduced into the irrigation system in front of the filter station so the filters can remove any precipitates that occur in the solution.

Drip Irrigation BD tubing

Fertilizers containing sulfate, phosphate, calcium, or anhydrous or aqua ammonium can lead to solid chemical precipitation inside the drip lines, which can block emitters. Obtain chemical analysis of your irrigation water and seek competent technical advice before injecting chemical fertilizers into drip systems.

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