Drip Irrigation Systems By: Philip Hanrahan and Matt Garrity What is Drip Irrigation? Irrigation method that applies water to plants at a very low rate of application and without any pressure
The concept of the system is to target the roots of the crop rather than the entire land area the crops cover Water is able to reach the deepest roots of the crop through capillaries and gravity History
First experimented in the 1860s in Germany using clay pipes The first drip tape was first used in the United States in the 1960s It was developed by an irrigation company called Netafin which patented the first drip irrigation system These systems have become a valued innovation in agriculture
because it gives an alternative to surface irrigation. Advantages over Surface Irrigation
Less Irrigation Water Needed Variation in Application Rates Avoid Over Irrigation
High Yields No Water Logging Advantages (cont.)
Reduced Labor Costs Uniform Distribution of Water
Weed and Pest Control Suitable for any type of land Maintain surface temperature Disadvantages over Surface Irrigation
High Costs o Buying the initial system can be more than other systems o Systems can be more expensive because of the extensive piping needed Waste o Tubes for drip irrigation can have a short life span requiring replacement pipes
Disadvantages (cont.) Clogging o When the water is not properly filtered, the equipment could clog easily Extra time and money for cleanup costs after harvest
Not beneficial to crops that are closely panted together (eg. wheat) Irrigation Inefficiencies UN World Water Development Report: - About 70% of all water use worldwide is for
agriculture irrigation - 60% of agriculture irrigation water is wasted 50% of the water Americans use outdoors is wasted from inefficient methods
Global Water Distribution Water Conservation According to the EPA: - Drip irrigation uses 20-50% less water than pop up systems.
- Can save the average American up to 30,000 gallons per year Droughts 2013 Government Accountability Office survey stated that state water managers from
around the country expect freshwater shortages to continue into the next decade. Population Growth An estimated 9.6 billion people by 2050 Approx. 2.5 billion more mouths to feed than
now Drip Irrigation System Components Pumping set o Generates pressure to control the amount of water supplied Filters
o Removes the impurities in the water Main Lines o This is the distribution system for drip irrigation o PVC pipes and polyethylene pipes used in the system o Pipes generally 65 mm in radius Sub Main
o Connected to main line through a control valve o Distributes the water laterally through the field Drippers/emitters o o
Connected on the laterals in order to emit water in drops at a continuous flow rate flow rates generally do not exceed 15 liters/hr Example Layout of System
Installation Getting Started Compared to conventional systems, drip irrigation systems are:
- easy to design - inexpensive - easy to install Planning and Designing Recommended for:
- trees, shrubs, vines, roses, vegetables, flower beds, pots, and individual plants Create a plant list as well as a property sketch About the Soil Different soils require different drippers
- Sandy: 2 GPH drippers (10-12 spacing) - Loamy: 1 GPH drippers (16-18 spacing) - Clay: .5 GPH drippers (18-24 spacing) *GPH Gallons Per Hour How to Start a System
Not all systems are going to be the same, thus multiple starting options. Factors include: - availability of water outlets - property lay out - types of plants
Method 1 Starting from a faucet for above ground installation using 1/2 poly tubing
Method 2 Starting from an anti-siphon valve for above or below grade installation
Method 3 Starting with an AC or DC in-line valve for below grade installation
Method 4 Retrofitting an existing sprinkler riser into a multi-outlet drip manifold head
Method 5 Starting from an existing riser using a conversion elbow
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