Flood irrigation, sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation are different irrigation methods, but since water is a limited resource in many regions, there is much interest in watering as efficiently as possible. Using drip irrigation, we can maximize the yield per square meter more than with any other method such as flooding or sprinkling.
The greatest benefit of switching to the drip irrigation system is the quality of the water, a subject that is not frequently discussed in conversations about irrigation. When you have poor quality water, no other method works as well as drip irrigation.
With drip irrigation, you can direct the water where you need it and prevent salts from remaining in the root zone. Producers can maintain the yields they achieve with flood irrigation, or even increase them, and use less water.
For producers interested in switching from irrigation by flood to drip irrigation, these are the 10 key points to follow before and during the transition.
- Look for a success story. Before switching to drip irrigation, talk to another producer who uses this method and learn what you can from that person. Find someone who has been successful with the method for 4 or 5 years, so that he has been able to correct his mistakes and improve his system.
- Be aware that switching to drip irrigation will save you a lot of water. This method will save a lot of water, and is the most efficient way to water.
- The cheap is expensive on many occasions. When a producer goes to a supplier to buy a system, he usually looks for the best price, but the ultimate goal must be to get the best system according to the needs of the producer, at the best price.
- Find out about the necessary equipment. The producer must know the different options and choose the one that best suits their needs.
- The size of the filtration system does matter. Choosing the wrong filtration system could result in clogging of contaminants in the drip tape, among other problems.
- Understand how to select and operate the system. You have to evaluate the situation based on the overall savings of the entire system. To select the best system, you have to understand well how it works best, and operate it accordingly.
- Know the fertilizers. You have to know how the fertilizer is made and which is the most compatible according to the type of water and the soil. Selecting the wrong fertilizer could cause obstructions in the drip lines.
- Pay attention to the maintenance of your system.
- Follow the correct operating procedures. Sometimes, producers try to operate the system for 24 hours in a row instead of dividing the irrigation time at different times of the day or several times during the week.
- Hire the right staff. Many producers hire people who are not willing or trained to learn how to operate the drip irrigation system, or they entrust the management to the person in charge of the flood irrigation system. This irrigation system (drip) requires the management of a person who knows each component and knows how to operate, maintain and use it to apply water and fertilizer in an appropriate manner.