At present, throughout the different agricultural areas of the world, there are numerous irrigation systems already in operation, which until now had been carrying out their work properly, but which are likely to be changed and updated or replaced by others ( as drip irrigation systems), which can try to help achieve water and energy savings and achieve greater resource efficiency for more sustainable agriculture.
Let’s look first at some concepts and issues characteristic of each type of irrigation. Sprinkler irrigation is a form of irrigation through which water reaches the plants in the form of localized rain. That is, it consists in the diffusion of water in the form of small drops as if they were rain, getting a uniform and regular watering.
It is a versatile and efficient system. The irrigation efficiency of this system is around 85%. It can be easily used on uneven terrain or hills. It allows to dose the water with a good precision, getting a homogeneous distribution in the desired area. The plant is not damaged, since the water pressure is regulated.
On the other hand, it cannot be denied that drip irrigation systems have gained a solid base of adherents due to the low flow rates required, their ability to save water and be, among others, more energy-efficient by requiring lower pressures to That the network works properly. A properly installed drip system can use 50 to 80% less water compared to sprinkler irrigation. This makes it a very attractive option for producers in places with water scarcity or for producers who simply want to develop efficient, sustainable and equally productive agriculture.
Drip irrigation consists of a distribution network that allows the water, in the form of drops, to moisten the area near the plant. Drip irrigation is not affected by wind and water falls and deepens to where most of the roots are concentrated. Thanks to this aspect, the efficiency of this system is around 95%. The advantages of drip irrigation are accentuated in small and medium-sized land between plants. It also allows controlling or combining additional elements such as those related to crop nutrition; and it is that the water, when falling slowly on the plants, prevents the nutrients from being wasted. It is an irrigation in which the water always falls in the same way, therefore, we will have a uniform and regular irrigation both in content and in periodicity.
In addition, this irrigation allows the simultaneous application of fertilizers and phytosanitary products, which increases efficiency, ensuring a homogeneous distribution of agrochemical solutions. This application of agrochemicals is not possible to carry out in sprinkler irrigation, since a good part of the products used due to drift would be wasted, and it can also damage the plant starches, which would reduce the nutritional properties of these.
It is common that in the face of possible changes in the irrigation system multiple doubts and questions arise … in this article we try to clarify and explain how to make the change of a drip sprinkler irrigation system.
Is it feasible to take advantage of the previous installation? Yes, you can reuse the entire installation until you reach the distribution of the emitter lines on the farm. It will only be necessary to adjust the installation conditions to the new elements that will be added to convert drip irrigation.
In this first phase, the fact of having a team of professionals, makes a difference, in GESTIRIEGO we have an exceptional technical team, perfectly trained to resize and readjust the irrigation network and adapt it to the new system.
It is necessary to determine, depending on the crop / crops to be raised in the field, the needs in terms of flow and disposal of the emitters or drippers; in parallel it is necessary to evaluate the previously installed equipment, both its general condition in case it is necessary to repair or replace any element such as to check the pump system, filtering, hydraulic valves, suction cups and pipes and distribution … and in this way and with the determined elements depending on the crop / crops, establish irrigation sectors and adapt the network to the capacity of the existing elements.
Key elements of the irrigation installation to be reviewed and taken into account:
PUMPING | If in our farm or operation we do not have pressurized water, it is necessary to have the dimensioning of the proposed network in the system head.
FILTRATION | Adapt the passage of the filter to the flow rate and typology of the emitter or dripper chosen for the irrigation network, without forgetting the water quality, a key factor that also influences.
FERTIRRIGATION | It is possible that our drip irrigation system can and should now have a system that allows to support precision nutrition for crops. Having a drip irrigation system allows us to benefit from this fact and perform localized fertilization.
HYDRAULIC VALVULERY (cutting and regulation) | Elements necessary to design and adapt the distribution network to the needs, areas or sectors of irrigation according to the farm and needs.
AIR RELEASE VALVES | They are the lung that keeps the installation in perfect condition, managing the air that resides inside. With the air release valves, the dreaded breakage by air accumulation is avoided, causing it to leave the pipes at the same speed at which the water enters when the installation is put into operation.
VOLUMETRIC COUNTER | Instrument that allows us to measure the volume of water that the system has used.
FLOW METER | Instrument used to measure the volumetric flow rate of a liquid; that is, the volume of water that is going through a point in the network at a given time.
MANOMETER | Instrument for pressure control in the irrigation network. It is a key element in a pressurized network, because thanks to its reading and measurement we can detect problems, leaks or obstructions.
PIPES FOR DRIP IRRIGATION & DROPPERS | At present, there are many types of drip irrigation pipes, with drippers or emitters of different types and a wide variety of flows depending on the needs. The pipes can be thick wall or thin wall or tape; The drippers can be self-compensating or turbulent.
Given the above, if you are thinking of changing a drip sprinkler irrigation system, do not hesitate, it is perfectly viable and easier than it seems… Do you have doubts about choosing a drip irrigation system?
Check out this article from our BLOG!!
In GESTIRIEGO, we have been manufacturing these systems for more than 30 years.