A healthy root zone contributes to higher production. This means that the importance of efficient irrigation, one of the factors that contribute to the health of the root zone, cannot be underestimated.
The most important benefit of drip irrigation comes from its much lower water application rate compared to other irrigation systems. This places control in a farmer’s hands, making it possible to better manage the root zone, the depth of irrigation and other aspects. This control is especially valuable in challenging soil. As dripper technology develops, lower flow rates become possible, which allows farmers to manage water application with higher efficiency.
A healthy root zone will, amongst other factors, contribute to consistently higher production. Given this, farmers must do everything they can to ensure a large and healthy root zone. This will depend on a variety of factors, of which irrigation is one.
From an irrigation perspective, root zone health is determined by farmers’ ability to manage the soil-water balance. Soil is made up of minerals, organic material, water, and oxygen. The percentage of minerals and organic material in soil composition is a given, but the percentage of air and water is dynamic. More water in the soil will translate to less oxygen and vice versa. An ideal point of balance between water and oxygen at which plants will thrive exists for each soil and crop. When farmers irrigate, their aim should be to manage the root zone with precision in order to maintain the perfect soil-water balance.