Irrigation can be understood supply of additional water through different channels to help the plants for their proper growth and development.
In general, There are 2 types of irrigation followed by world from centuries. They are:-
In surface irrigation, water is supplied to plants on their growing surface(On Soil). Surface irrigation make the soil of larger area wet with water. It is mostly used irrigation system.
In Sub-surface irrigation water is supplied to plants in their root zones from under the soil. This is localised irrigation which covers specific zone like root zone. It is more effective and efficient form of irrigation. In general, Drip irrigation system comes under the sub-surface irrigation though it can also be used as surface irrigation.
Here, In this article, We will learning about the Drip Irrigation advantages and disadvantages along with the components used in drip irrigation system.
Drip Irrigation System
Before we directly jump on advantages and disadvantages of drip irrigation, We need to know about it in detail. Drip Irrigation is modern eco-friendly irrigation system which may be surfaced or sub-surfaced (mainly) in which water is provided to plants through pipelines network exactly in their root zones in a controlled way.
This system of irrigation was developed by from Israel. After its invention, People understand the advantages and disadvantages of drip irrigation system. As this system has many advantages over its demerits, It was adopted worldwide. In this era when we raise our voice for the sustainable agriculture, conservation of water, land and proper use of fertilizers is utmost. These three pillars of sustainable agriculture is well covered by Drip irrigation system. It’s preserves water, prevents the runoff of fertile top soil and provide the flexibility of fertilizers application in right amount and right dose without hampering the quality of land.
In general, we irrigate whole surface in which crop is growing but in drip this system we don’t moisturise all surface instead we apply water exactly to active root zone of crops according to their requirement.
In general, crops has certain circle area from which it uptakes water. crops cannot uptake water from far distance. So – Irrigating whole surface don’t gives us good production and it causes the waste of water as well as the soil. To prevent this losss, The technology of drip irrigation was invented.
This system is generally used in those area where there is shortage of irrigation water like in desert areas and sandy soil where there is deep percolation loss of water as well as evaporation loss due to high intensity of sun. In such areas, Cultivation of agricultural crops becomes a challenge. Without water, no-one can grow crops. So – Here, Drip irrigation system shows greater advantage. In these areas, this irrigation system preserve the deep percolation loss as it is applied on active root zone and evaporation loss also gets reduced as it is generally done in sub-surface or covered by mulching plastic sheet.
Types Of Drip Irrigation
Like the type of irrigation, This system also has two types. They are discussed below:-
1.Surfaced Drip Irrigation
In this method, pipes are placed above the ground surface and drippers or emitters are fitted exactly at the crown region i.e the region of crop where the stem and root are joined.
2.Sub-surfaced Drip Irrigation
In this method, pipes are placed below the ground surface and drippers or emitters are fitted at exactly at rootzone of the crop. Sometimes, The pipes are covered with plastic mulch also. This system Prevents the evaporative loss to greater extent. In this system, pipe is fitted (1-2) inch under the soil.
Drip Irrigation Setup Materials
Before we move on our mai topic i.e advantages and disadvantages of drip irrigation. Let’s learn about the materials required. There are lots of equipments required for the initial setup of this irrigation system. So – The setup cost is quite High. However, This technology advantages are too many that this investment seems worth in long run. Now – Let’s learn about the different materials or components of drip irrigation:-
1. Irrigation Pipes
The entire network of drip irrigation system consists of different sizes of pipes interconnected with each other which have different diameters to supply different volume of water.
We can install 3 types of pipes for drip irrigation which are explained below:-
It is generally used in orchards where there are no proper rows or columns of plantation.
It is simple pipe in which you have to made holes at desired space and buttons are to be fitted on holes.
It can be used up to 7 years.
➡️Installation Cost- (25000-2700)IC/acre
It has inbuilt holes at certain distance and buttons are already fixed from inside the pipes.
You can buy these pipes according to your required spacing. It is generally used for vegetables like tomato, chilli farming.
It can works for about 10 years after installation.
➡️Installation Cost=( 40000-45000)IC/acre
Note:-These two pipes are of different sizes(mm) and prices also differs according to their capacity.
It is cheap and it is like use and throw type of pipe. It is mainly used in sugarcane farming.
It also have inbuilt holes and buttons.
The pipe of pepsi drip is thin. It comes in mylon(Thickness).
It works for about (1-2)years after installation.
Note:- You can get subsidy in poly tube and inline drip system only. You can’t get subsidy in pepsi system.
These were the different types of pipes that can be used for this irrigation technology. Lets move to other materials that are required for the setup of drip irrigation system.
2.Electric motors/ Disel Engine
This are most important in drip irrigation system. These machines helps to generate power to pump out the water from the source i.e wells and pond. We can use electric motors if there is availability of electricity otherwise we can use disel engine.
The water flows in the network of pipes by the help of pressure. However, Large pressure isn’t needed, Small amount of pressure is enough to circulate the water. To generate Pressure we can use Pressure pump.
Pressure pump is connected to the motors or disel engine. This material pumps the water out of wells and pond by creating suction pressure. After that, Pressure pumps push the water and maintain the forward flow towards the filteration component of drip irrigation.
3. Sand Filters
Filteration is one of the most important task to be done in drip irrigation system. Without filteration, the dust, mud, stones may block the pipes and it need cost to repair them and sometimes, we need to change the pipes.
Sand filters are fixed inside the cylindrical metal box. Water is cleaned in filters which helps to prevent to blockage of pipes.
Materials like Dust, Mud and Algae are filtered here.
It is connected with filter. The water which passes through filters is clean. So, this water should flow forward in main pipe.
This back-flow preventer prevents the returning of clean water back again into dirty water of filters.
Venturi injector is a section where we add fertilizers required for the crop. The main pipe from which water flows is connected with venturi injector which sucks fertilizers from any connected connector. This is one of the major advantage of drip irrigation system. Providing fertilizers by mixing it with water is known as Fertigation.
Fertigation is process of application of fertilizers by mixing with water. Drip irrigation can be effective for fertigation and it is very easy. This helps to conserve the loss of fertilizers and reduced the cost of labours which otherwise be needed for the application of fertilizers in crops.
What you have do is simply mix the required doses of fertilizers (N,PK) with water and it flows through pipes and all the plants gets fertilizers in equal doses.
After venturi, the main pipe is connected with flowmeter. Flowmeter shows the quantity of water flowing through pipe in cubic meter.
This helps to control the amount of water to be given to crops according to their age and requirement.
The water flowing through the main pipe goes to the filter which separates unnecessary particles in water which were mixed during fertigation.
After Final filter, water flows from main pipe to field pipes.
The main pipe of drip is now connected with field pipes. The diameter of field pipes is less then the main pipe. These filed pipes are layed all around the main field where the crops are Planted. The water coming from the main pipes is distributed field pipes which are finally connected with emitters of drip irrigation from which the water reach to the plants.
These are rubber materials which are fixed in holes of field pipes which controls the amount of water to be drip per time from field. The spacing of emitters in lateral/field pipes is based on spacing of crops.
Buttons/Drippers are of different capacities of dripping water in litres. Some has 4 Ltr/hour and some has 8Ltr /hour. You can buy according to your requirement.
In the ares where there is more sand and high light intensity, It is better to use the drippers that has capacity of dripping more volume of water in short time to fulfill the water requirement of the crop. For large trees, there is availability of drippers that can deliver high volume of water.
Plants Suitable For Drip Irrigation
This system of irrigation can be applied for large range of plants. Some of the examples are:-
Things To Be Careful For Drip Irrigation
•Drip Irrigation system should have good pump for control of pressure otherwise pipe may brust (high pressure) or water will not drip out (low pressure).
•Water should be clean otherwise it may block pipes.
•Filters should be used in inline drip so that it can used for long time without blockage.
•Fertilizers mixed should be in proper doses otherwise it negatively affects crops.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Drip Irrigation
Now that, we have learned almost everything about this amazing irrigation system. Lets learn about the Drip irrigation advantages and disadvantages:-
Advantages Of Drip Irrigation System
There are many advantages of drip irrigation system. That’s why, People are using it more frequently in recent days. It is beneficial for the areas where there is no Proper provision of irrigation channels and where there is scarcity of water. Here – We have listed some of the major advantages of this system:-
- The topmost advantage of drip irrigation is water conservation. Drip Irrigation saves water by (30-70)% as it helps to reduce evaporation and seepage loss.
- Drip irrigation can be used in all kind of soil and all kinds of topography. It can be used in levelled as well as undulating fields as there are materials which helps to control the different parameters of flowing water.
- All the plants in field receives equal amount of water and fertilizers by the means of fertigation.
- It helps to control the growth of weeds as the water is applied directly in root zone of crops which makes water unavailable for weed. Ultimately, It increases the production.
- This system helps to reduce labours requirement by 63%.
- It helps to reduce dampness and lodging problem.
- Drip Irrigation helps to prevent diseases in crops.
- It helps to preserve fertile top soil and reduces soil erosion.
- This system helps to increase yield in drastic amount.
- We can do farming in hot and desert climate by the application of sub-surfaced drip irrigation.
These are the major advantages of drip irrigation. As our topic is drip irrigation advantages and disadvantages, It is obvious that, this system has some disadvantages as well which are listed below:-
Disadvantages Of Drip Irrigation System
•Drip Irrigation needs some technical knowledge.
•It needs regular supervision and flushing.
•Installation cost is high.
•Plastic pipes can negatively affects both soil and plants in long run.
•Pipes may get damaged by rodents, night frost, brusting which may increase our production cost and we can’t get good profit.
We all know the water sources are depleting day by day. The surface and underground water is getting polluted day by day. That’s why – There is unavailability of irrigation water. In this scenario, Drip irrigation is an eco-friendly irrigation system that provides amazing advantages in Agriculture field along with the conservation of water and other resources.
This system of irrigation can be sustainable and effective tool in Agriculture. Government should encourage the farmers to use drip Irrigation system by providing free setup components.
Many farmers in world commits suicide because they can’t do production due to lack of irrigation water.In this scenario, drip irrigation can be life saving change in farming world.