The great current interest in drip irrigation in coffee growing is mainly due to the excellent results of water and energy savings together with the substantial increase in productivity. The coffee plant can be considered as having a certain tolerance to drought, although the harvest can be significantly reduced when the supply is inadequate.
Due to the lack of water, the vegetative growth is reduced and the fact that coffee usually produces flowers and fruits only in the wood formed by the growth of lateral branches during the previous year, allows the decrease of the harvest due to a deficiency of water, very rarely observed in the same year in which this lack has occurred, but rather occurs in the next harvest.
Drip irrigation allows a significant reduction of soil evaporation and percolation losses, as well as reduces the proliferation of weeds in non-irrigated areas and the controlled contribution of nutrients, also allows harvesting, pruning or spraying operations at the same time that the irrigation is carried out.
The main advantages are:
• Greater efficiency in the use of water: reduction of losses due to evaporation.
• Higher productivity: lower variations in the humidity level make the fruits develop and be more uniform
• Greater efficiency to pay: It facilitates the application of the fertilizer, increasing efficiency in the absorption and utilization of nutrients.
• Greater efficiency in phytosanitary control: Being a localized irrigation, it facilitates the control of weeds, and insects and fungi
• It adapts to different soils and topographies: it adapts better than any other to irregular and rugged topography
• Lower labor costs: As these are fixed systems there is a considerable saving in these costs.