Speaking of innovation in terms of both technology and practices, it is imperative to consider the interaction between these two levels of innovation. Innovative thinking leads to new practices that require new technology. Consequently, innovative irrigation technology is born. Conversely, when new technology is developed it creates space for innovative thinking and new practices. In other words, innovation breeds innovation. Let us consider a few innovative irrigation concepts.
Much research and development have gone into precision irrigation solutions, such as drip irrigation, used for targeted delivery of fertilisers and crop protection. This is not only due to the ongoing drive for higher efficiency in agriculture, but also the fact that increased precision with the application of fertilisers and crop protection will reduce the chance of unintentional collateral damage during and after the application of these inputs.
Fertigation – the practice of delivering fertiliser through drip irrigation – has been around for decades. It allows optimal root zone management by delivering the right combination of nutrients directly to each plant’s root zone. Producers who implement fertigation are well aware of the immense agronomic, economic, operational, and environmental benefits of applying nutrients to the plant root zone in small doses.
Depending on the legislation in the particular country and the registered suitable methods of use of the products in question, drip irrigation can also be used to apply crop protection. The conventional application method for crop protection products offers no control over drifting of spray materials to areas adjacent to the agricultural areas under treatment.
Many crop protection companies have developed unique products that can be applied through drip systems to provide plants the protection they need while eliminating drifting and reducing application rates.
Benefits of using drip irrigation as a delivery system for crop protection products include: